Opioids are seen in this file image.

An alarming increase in drug-related overdoses has prompted an alert from the Windsor-Essex Community Opioid and Substance Strategy.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit’s surveillance and monitoring system has identified an increase in drug-related overdoses between Jan. 27 – Feb. 3.

There were 22 fentanyl-related emergency department visits during this time period and 16 were overdoses. All of them involved fentanyl.

“Based on our comparisons to previous years for this week, these numbers are extremely high and warrant a community alert,” said a news release from the WECOSS.

Partners involved in the WECOSS, including WECHU, Windsor Regional Hospital, Essex Windsor-EMS, Erie Shores Healthcare, and police services, continue to monitor the increase and are working to understand more about the reported cases.

For signs and symptoms of opioid overdose and what to do, visit the WECOSS website.