'Disturbing' jump in opioid overdoses in Niagara has a group speaking out


A local group in sounding the alarm about a 'disturbing' increase opioid overdoses in Niagara.

The Overdose Prevention and Education Network of Niagara (OPENN) says preliminary data for 2020 has found that Niagara had 309 suspected overdose deaths. 

Officials say that marks one of the higher rates of opioid-related deaths in the province. 

These deaths most often occur in private residences.

OPENN says with opioids, they always stress the importance of not using alone, but with the COVID-19 crisis, and the need to physically distance, it seems to contradict that message.  

"People have been cut off from their support and supply systems, creating stress, anxiety, and desperation while in isolation. The pandemic has also contributed to the increase in overdoses in our area. "

In Niagara, there has been a 25.3% increase in calls to Niagara Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for possible overdoses between 2019 and 2020, according to Niagara Region Public Health.  

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