Mayor Fred Eisenberger will hold an ‘Opioid Response Summit’ later this month to discuss the fentanyl-fueled crisis in the city.
Hamilton has the most opioid-related deaths in the province over the past five years, according to a recent study.
Eisenberger is expected to meet with officials from the city’s Coroner’s Office, Police Service, Paramedic Service, Fire Service, and community health organizations to discuss the emergence of high-potency opioids in Hamilton.
“All opioid misuse is a concern as it harms individuals, families, communities, and also puts pressure on first responders, the health care system, and community services.” said Dr. Jessica Hopkins, City of Hamilton Associate Medical Officer of Health in a statement. “This summit is about mobilizing key institutions to better understand our collective challenges and opportunities to effectively prevent and respond to increased overdoses.”
Police have called the fentanyl epidemic “the most significant health and safety crisis in Ontario today.”
In December 2016, Health Canada confirmed a drug found inside an unmarked nasal inhaler in Hamilton was actually carfentanil – an extremely dangerous opioid that is 4000 times stronger than heroin.
The mayor says he will also be participating in the Van Needle Syringe Program in the next couple of weeks. The program deliver free needles, condoms, safe injections supplies and counselling to people across the city from a mobile van. Eisenberger says it will allow him to observe firsthand the situation in Hamilton at street-level.
“I am proud to champion this issue and continue to lend my support in convening a table of local leaders and stakeholders to forge a partnership to deal with this together,” said Eisenberger.