Multiple Overdoses reported by BPS [Barrie Police Services]To Local Service Agencies, No Public Alert


Courtesy of Barrie 360, Ian MacLennan Published: Jul 6th, 2023

A lethal batch of illicit substances and drugs has been circulating in recent days in Barrie, though no public alert has been issued by Barrie Police Service (BPS) or the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

However, BPS did reach out to service agencies that assist individuals in the community who may be experiencing homelessness.https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FBusbyCentre%2Fposts%2Fpfbid0CNvFFqXQx1ux5fcyZ1C8jMWm4N41nhxNCbVg2yqwGz3n2UHC6gqQ3SUAHjmB2YM6l&show_text=true&width=500

“There is an extremely lethal batch of illicit substances/drugs circulating in the community today. We have been notified by Barrie Police service of multiple overdoses. Please, if you see anyone in distress or unresponsive, please call 911 immediately,” the Busby Centre posted to Facebook on Monday.

York Regional Police issued a warning earlier this week following six incidents of suspected fentanyl overdoses, one of which resulted in a death, during the Canada Day long weekend.

Incidents were reported in Newmarket, Vaughan and Georgina.

One of those incidents involved cocaine that was laced with fentanyl.


Cathy Eisener, a public health nurse at the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) said they became aware of events over the weekend through social media posts shared by their partners. At the moment, the health unit is monitoring data for any trends.

“The week of June 18th for the region, we had 34 suspected opioid overdose visits to the emergency department, which was higher than the previous week,” said Eisener. “The previous week had been 27, and we do see spikes happen at different times.

The health unit’s coverage area also includes the cities of Barrie and Orillia.

“We do know that fentanyl is the predominant opioid in the community right now and has been for the last few years,” says Eisener. “What’s one of the contributing factors in responding to an opioid poison at this point in time is other things that are shared in the supply as well, like benzodiazepine, which makes it much more difficult to reverse the overdose because naloxone is specific to an opioid.”

Eisener says that’s why the health unit encourages people to call 911 in the event they are responding to a poisoning with naloxone.

“Naloxone will only take care of the opioid component. The person may not wake up, but they may still start breathing again, but not wake up because of the other additives that are in the supply like benzodiazepine and xylazine.”

Xylazine is a drug used for sedation and muscle relaxation in large animals such as horses and cattle.

While no drug warning was issued publicly in the region as was done this week by York Regional Police in their jurisdiction, Eisener says police will often put out a warning or press release if something is happening that they know and want to get out in a timely manner.

“Historically there has been a process for it to come out through the health unit and community partners, but the threshold for that has to be updated because they’re not meeting our needs at this point in time with the kind of numbers we were seeing when the process was developed in 2017 and 2018.”

Patricia Dent

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