Opioid Alert for Grey Bruce

Grey Bruce Public Health has issued an Opioid Alert to community partners after receiving notification of one fatal and three non-fatal drug poisonings in the area over the past five days.

This is the seventh time GBPH has issued such an alert since June 1, 2024.

“We are deeply concerned about the number of substance-related poisonings reported in Grey-Bruce so far this summer. Our goal in issuing Opioid Alerts is to both warn people who use substances about the potential toxicity of the local drug supply and to remind them to follow critical harm reduction strategies. These strategies can and do save lives,” says Monica Blair, Manager of the Harm Reduction Program at Grey Bruce Public Health.

There have been nine reports of suspected drug poisonings so far in July. These incidents have taken place in several locations in Grey-Bruce, including Owen Sound, Georgian Bluffs, South Bruce Peninsula, and Saugeen Shores.

Purple fentanyl is the substance suspected in the majority of the most recent overdoses.

People who use drugs are at significant risk of overdose due to contamination of the local drug supply with fentanyl, sedatives, and animal tranquilizers. Public Health advises that all street drugs should be deemed potentially fatal.

Public Health encourages people who use unregulated drugs to use drug test kits in conjunction with other harm reduction strategies. Test kits for fentanyl, benzodiazepines, and xylazine are available from Public Health and several community partners, including Safe ‘N Sound, SOS, Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Grey-Bruce, and the South East Grey Community Health Centre.

GBPH urges people to have a sober friend with them when using drugs or to call or text the National Overdose Response Service (NORS) or use/download the BRAVE App if using alone. NORS can be reached by calling or texting 1-888-688-6677. A NORS operator will stay on the line with the person while the drug is used. In the event the person becomes unresponsive, NORS will call 911 to ensure help arrives.

Other harm reduction recommendations include:

  • Taking extra caution if mixing drugs. Mixing drugs, including with alcohol, increases the risk of harm and overdose.
  • Going slow. Always start with a low dose and increase slowly, especially if trying something new or restarting use.
  • Using only new supplies and avoid sharing supplies. This reduces the risk of getting or passing on an infectious disease. Supplies are available at GBPH and community partners.
  • Getting overdose prevention training and carrying a Naloxone kit. Naloxone is available for free at most local pharmacies and at GBPH, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. No appointment or prescription is needed.

Overdose is a medical emergency. Call 911 or go to the Emergency Department. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act provides protection from simple possession charges for everyone at the scene when 911 is called for an overdose.