Windsor area opioid deaths reach record numbers

(© Can Stock Photo / Sheri_Armstrong)

Opioid-related deaths in Windsor-Essex keep rising.

The latest report by Public Health Ontario (PHO) showed there were a record 48 opioid-related deaths in the Windsor area last year compared to 36 the previous year. The report also showed that two deaths in November and one in December were likely caused by opioids.

The numbers showed that 25 of the 36 deaths in 2017 were men mostly between the ages of 25 and 44.

PHO is also reporting that Fentanyl is responsible for most of the local deaths.

There were 1,337 opioid-related deaths in Ontario between July 2017 and June 2018, according to the statistics, with 1,209 of them deemed accidental.

PHO said nearly 60 per cent of incidents happened at the deceased person’s home, 17 per cent were in another person’s residence, and about 12 per cent were inside another accommodation such as a rooming house, hotel or motel, shelter, or supportive housing and most importantly people were most often alone at the time of the overdose when it occurred in their own home.

The report also found that a resuscitation attempt was made in about half of the deaths and naloxone was administered by first responders, hospital staff or bystanders in 22 per cent of accidental deaths.

“It’s hoped that a better understanding of the people most vulnerable to fatal opioid overdoses and their circumstances can inform programs and services to help prevent these deaths in Ontario,” said Dr. Tara Gomes, a principal investigator of the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network.

The agency said since 2003, the number of deaths has increased 246 per cent.

More than 1,250 Ontarians died from opioid-related causes in 2017.

Opioids are natural or synthetic substances used to reduce pain in clinical settings, but are also produced and consumed non-medically. Common opioids include oxycodone, hydromorphone and fentanyl. While they can be an effective part of pain management for some medically supervised patients, opioid-related harms such as addiction and overdose present a significant challenge for public health.