Huge Spike In Opioid Cases At Windsor Regional Hospital

The opioid crisis continues to impact Windsor Regional Hospital.

Interim Vice President of Critical Care, Cardiology and Stroke Karen Riddell says the hospital has seen a huge spike in opioid overdoses within the last year.

The hospital deals with opioid cases daily, but the amount varies.

"It varies if there's festivals going on in the community or parties or if there's a new house that opens up we'll see increase number of cases," says Riddell. "But definitely we're seeing cases every single day of overdose situations in the hospital."

Riddell says the hospital has treated older and younger patients. Older ages range from 45 to 65.

"What we're seeing is you got an older group that you wouldn't typically expect to be using illicit drugs that have perhaps had access because of a chronic or in acute pain that have continued using these drugs and become addicted to them."

Riddell says the increase number of cases is alarming.

"We've seen a huge spike in the last year with the number of cases with much stronger opioids that are ending up in the communities so whether it's fentanyl and most recently carfentanil has hit the scene so we've been doing a lot of work within the hospital both on the management of those patients as well as protecting our staff from possible exposure to those drugs."        

The Windsor Regional Hospital Board of Directors heard on Thursday that emergency departments at both campuses have seen an equal split for opioid related issues for the age groups 25 to 44 and 45 to 65.

The board also heard that the age group 45 to 65 has been hospitalized more often and the death rate is slightly higher.