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Regional opioid crisis worsened in 2021

The Porcupine Health Unit region enters 2022 still in an opioid crisis.

Public health nurse Tina Brunet is the unit’s harm reduction program coordinator. She says the crisis worsened last month, with the number of overdose-related calls to paramedics increasing each week.

She says the region still has the second highest death rate in Ontario.

“In 2020, we had 40 opioid-related deaths,” she relates. “With the very preliminary data that we have for 2021, it shows that it’s increased about 30%.”

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The single biggest factor in those deaths is the user being alone when consuming opioids.

“In 2020, when we look at the 40 deaths that did occur in the PHU area,” Brunet continues, “the vast majority of those were in Timmins, about 86%.”

Brunet says upcoming services like a supervised consumption site in Timmins; and withdrawal, treatment and mental health programs should help the situation.

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