August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day. The world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose, remember without stigma those who have died and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind.
The north still leads the province in opioid-related overdose deaths. That’s according to our Health Unit’s Community Health Promoter, Sam Docherty.
Docherty says though we don’t have official data for all of 2021, we do have data from the first quarter of the year. In that timeframe our region has seen 5 confirmed and 1 probable opioid-related death, which puts us at about 21st in terms of deaths in the province. however, the other four northern health units remain at the top in terms of opioid-related deaths, and North Bay and area is on par to follow last year’s 51 overdose deaths. Docherty says in the North, and especially during COVID, there may be a number of reasons why the rate is so high.
“Changes in service, service closures that we saw as well as business closures, etc, during the time of COVID,” she says.”Border closures impacting the drug supply, as well as potentially, public health measures telling people to be more isolated and perhaps increasing the number of people who are using alone.”
She says International Overdose Awareness Day says is important in bringing overdose deaths to light. She says it helps the community mourn, heal and come together as a whole to work together and work on these issues.
To find out more information on International Overdose Awareness Day, and what local agencies have planned for the event, click here.