Kingsville hosting symposium to bring awareness to opioid deaths


The Town of Kingsville is looking to bring attention to the number of opioid toxicity deaths across the country. 

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, a total of 1,904 opioid toxicity deaths occurred between January and March of 2023. 

This is an average of 21 deaths per day, making overdoses a public health crisis. 

Speaking on AM800's The Shift, Kimberly DeYong, Program Director at Kingsville Community Centre and deputy mayor, says in order to cast a spotlight on this ongoing issue, the Kingsville Community Centre and Town of Kingsville are hosting "Not In My Town" next week, which is a free symposium. 

The public meeting on November 21 will include a presentation from Dr. Peter Farago on the impact and dangers that substances like fentanyl present, as well as conversations from people who lived who will share their stories of addiction. 

The evening will also include Naloxone training, and community resources will be available. 

DeYong says she feels that Naloxone kits should be as readily available as band-aids.

"Maybe it's not my child, but maybe it's their friend. Maybe it's one of my friend's children, and I think the more I know, the more I'll be able to help people in my life. And the event will be full of information that I know as a parent of teenagers I'm not aware of anymore, things have changed."

She says while she hopes she never has to use a Naloxone kit, it's important for everyone to know how. 

"I really do think for the amount of people whose lives could be saved, you know we were talking about just this summer nearly 250 calls going into our local paramedics for drug misuse. 250 calls just this summer. That's the crisis, that's a big issue that we can't pretend we don't know is happening."

DeYong says while this meeting is targeted to parents and adolescents, anyone is welcome to attend. 

"This isn't even necessarily a misuse, on purpose issue, it's just an awareness of these things are in our medicine cabinets, and they do have serious outcomes if not used properly."

A number of organizations will be attending the symposium including Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, Canadian Mental Health Association, Windsor-Essex County Branch, Town of Kingsville, Windsor Essex Community Health Centre and more.

The event is being held at Grovedale, located at 103 Park Street in Kingsville, on Tuesday, November 21. 

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the event starts at 6 p.m.

More information on the public meeting can be found by clicking here.

-with files from AM800's The Shift with Patty Handysides