Sad But Not Surprised: Local Reaction To Latest Stats On Opioid-Related Deaths

The Local Medical Officer of Health says the latest provincial stats on opioid-related deaths prove there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.

From 2016 to 2017, there was a 52% increase in the number of opioid-related deaths across the province.

"Not surprised but I'm sad to see those results," says Dr. Wajid Ahmed. "But what we need to focus on is how we can take actions to prevent these avoidable deaths that we can prevent locally and in the province."

In Windsor-Essex, there were 37 deaths in 2016 because of opioids and in 2017, up until September, there were 19.

In 2015, there were 24 deaths in Windsor-Essex.

At one point, the Windsor figures were higher than the provincial average, but Local Medical Officer of Health Dr. Wajid Ahmed says the situation is improving.

"The gap that used to be very wide, I think it has been decreasing over time," he says.  "Part of that could be our work on the local opioid strategy, bringing in all the partners together and maybe that has created the awareness in the community."

He credits the distribution of naloxone kits in the community because, 'we have seen a high uptake of those naloxone kits in the community."

Back in January, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit released it Opioid Strategy aimed at prevention, education, treatment and recovery.

When it comes to emergency department visits across the province related to opioid overdoses, there was a 72% jump from 2017 to 2016.