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Dr. Eileen de Villa, addresses recent overdoses at supervised clinic

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Overdoses at supervised clinic – Statement from Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, after 12 people suffered overdoses on Wednesday at a Toronto Public Health supervised consumption service on Victoria Street near Yonge-Dundas Square.

Toronto police told Global News that an alleged drug dealer has been arrested after 12 people suffered overdoses at the supervised consumption clinic. Several people suspected to have overdosed needed to be treated with naloxone an opioid overdose-reversal drug, for suspected fentanyl overdoses at the supervised clinic.

Toronto Police Supt. Steve Watts said in a news conference Thursday afternoon that, “The information that was received was that numerous individuals had gone into distress immediately after ingesting what we believe to be fentanyl.”

“None of the individuals recovered in a way that was typical for a normal fentanyl overdose. This leads us to believe that the substance distributed last night was a mixture of fentanyl and another undetermined substance at this point,” Watts said.

“With the assistance of 51 Division personnel, members of the drug squad commenced an immediate investigation in an attempt to identify the individual or individuals selling this potentially lethal batch of fentanyl,” said Watts.

Following the incident Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, made a statement regarding the overdoses.

“Yesterday, we experienced a rapid increase in overdoses in our supervised consumption service located inside The Works, said Dr. de Villa. “We believe this to be related to a tainted local drug supply. Our staff immediately alerted Toronto Paramedic Services to help ensure the health and safety of our clients and the broader community. 

“Our staff acted on this information and immediately shared information with the broader harm reduction community. Extra staff came in to help out and we extended our service hours until 11 p.m. last night. To further assist in this time-sensitive matter, there was also an increased paramedic services presence in front of TPH. We have obtained a sample for drug checking that we have sent to the laboratory at St. Michael’s Hospital to understand further details. When we receive this information, we will be able to issue more clear alerts to the local harm reduction community regarding which substances should be avoided. 

“Drug overdose is a significant public health issue with devastating impacts for many. The events that unfolded yesterday clearly demonstrate the need for supervised consumption services in our community and the life-saving benefit they provide. As always, our top priority is to ensure the health and safety of our staff, clients and the broader community. 

“Thank you to the staff who responded to this matter in a timely way in collaboration with our local police, paramedic and fire services teams,” the statement said.

Other articles from mtltimes.ca and totimes.ca

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