The Overdose Prevention and Education Network of Niagara (OPENN) consists of members from prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and enforcement agencies. We are working together to address increased substance use and raise awareness around the disturbing increase in opioid overdoses in Niagara.
We must help the many people in Niagara that are overdosing and dying from substance use. Preliminary data for 2019 and 2020 has found that Niagara had 309 suspected overdose deaths. This was a 32% increase from 2019 to 2020. Niagara has one of the higher rates of opioid-related deaths in the province. These deaths most often occur in private residences. With opioids, we always stress the importance of not using alone, but with the COVID-19 crisis, our need to physically distance and self-isolate from one another seems to contradict that message.
People have been cut off from their support and supply systems, creating stress, anxiety, and desperation while in isolation. The pandemic has also contributed to the increase in overdoses in our area. In Niagara, we have seen a 25.3% increase in calls to Niagara Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for possible overdoses between 2019 and 2020, according to Niagara Region Public Health.
Help save lives and reduce unnecessary overdose deaths. Supports and services are available for anyone in need.
Mental Health and Addictions Access Line:
1-866-550-5205 or www.accesslineniagara.com
211 Call Centre:
Dial 211 or https://www.incommunities.ca/en/211-niagara/dial211/
It is vitally important to talk to our loved ones who we know or suspect are using substances about the importance of not using alone and having a naloxone kit available in case of overdose. Naloxone kits are available from many pharmacies or Positive Living Niagara at www.positivelivingniagara.com or 905-984-8684.
For more information contact Glen Walker Co-Chair OPENN
firstname.lastname@example.org or 905 985-8684