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Opioid Abuse Deaths Are Up In Windsor Area

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting that opioid misuse is up across Windsor-Essex and it’s trying to do something about it.

Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Wajid Ahmed says the rate of opioid-related deaths in the Windsor area is more than double the provincial average, at 10.7 per 100,000 compared to 5.1 per 100,000 across Ontario.

In 2007, the rate in Windsor was 3.7 per 100,000 and in Ontario it was 2.7 per 100,000.

Ahmed says the problem is getting worse everywhere, and public health officials are trying their best to address the overuse issue.

“It requires a long-term strategy working with our community partners, finding all the resources that are available in the community, and using them in the best possible way to serve the community,” says Ahmed.

Men in the Windsor area are more likely than women to be hospitalized because of opioid abuse, bucking the provincial trend.

Ahmed says the health unit is working with community partners like hospitals, EMS, police and pharmacists to address the issue.

He says “we’re bringing all these players to the table and we’re trying to come up with a community wide strategy that we can use to address the issue.”

Ahmed says dealing with opioid disorders is a complex issue that needs a collaborative effort.

“We’re working with law enforcement because the enforcement is a big piece. We’re also working with the mental health side, mental health experts, because a lot of the addiction issues come from people who have some kind of a mental illness,” he says.