This year has been a record setter.
Not because of the pandemic or the heat this summer, but because of the record number of opioid overdoses.
City of Toronto councillor Joe Cressy says 27 people died of overdoses in the month of July, and that there has been an 85% increase in suspected overdose deaths during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Province of British Columbia has also reported an increase with 113 people in March and 100 in April dying in opioid related incidents, a 61% increase over February of this year. There have been 2,500 overdose linked 911 calls in July alone.
Alberta has also had an increase in overdoses in the first six months of 2020. In the Edmonton area, the number of emergency room visits for overdoses jumped from 9 per day, to 14.
Saskatchewan has had a marked increase of overdose calls to paramedics, hitting 100 per week just this month. The City of Regina has seen 33 overdose fatalities this year so far.
On the East Coast, Nova Scotia has had 19 overdose deaths, Prince Edward Island had four overdoses in one day, with one death.
In Yukon, the number of fatal overdoses in the first 7 months of 2020 has been double that of last year.
The numbers of overdoses in Quebec is unknown due to lack of funding to coroners. It takes between 12 to 18 months to get a coroner’s report in suspected overdose cases.
With the entire country closing down to “flatten the curve”, the support groups for those with addictions have been shut down as well. With no resources available, addicts are feeling trapped with nowhere to turn. The danger of using is increased because of the quarantine measures. Many times people are using alone, having no one to administer naloxone or call 911 if they overdose.