Preventing opioid deaths

Doctors and scientists at St. Michaels Hospital are sounding the alarm about opioid use in Ontario. In a recent study — the group found opioid related overdose deaths had increased 242 percent since 1991. Hamilton public health recently began handing out an antidote to those who are vulnerable.

A little vial of naloxone could save your life. It’s an antidote of sorts for an accidental overdose of opioids like the prescription painkillers oxycontin and fentanyl or even heroin.

Hamilton Public Health has been handing them out since May. Dr. Julie Emily is with Ham. Public Health: “We already handed out 35 kits , we know someone who used it and it saved a life. We are working with our own clinics to identify people and we train them how to use it.”

Researchers found opioids are the leading cause of death among young adults in Ontario. About one in 170 deaths in this province is related to the use of the drug.

Debbie Bang is with St. Joseph’s Hospital: “In Hamilton, it’s the cause of half of the acute deaths — 300 to 400 deaths a year in Ontario. So it’s definitely a problem.”

St. Josephs Hospital offers a withdrawal management program for opioid addicton. They have seen the numbers looking for help skyrocket.

Debbie: “In my lifetime working in treatment, I have seen a dramatic increase. It used to be less than 1 percent — now it’s 29 percent.”

And it’s not just street addicts who are getting hooked. Many people are using the drug legitimately.

Debbie: “The reality is the brain doesn’t care which source it is. Legal or illegal, it becomes dependant for many people. The prescription is no different than heroin or fentanyl, Tylenol 1, two or 3.”

Bang says it’s important for anyone using this class of drugs to be very careful: “What many people don’t realize is that Tylenol one, two and three all have codeine which is also an opiate just like heroin or fentanyl.”

Naloxone is only a temporary measure for overdose. It gives the person time to get medical help. It’s not meant to be a long term treatment for opioid addiction.




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Angela says:

One life saved makes it worth it. Keep it up

My905Hamilton says:

The police have to nab those all those downtown seniors in electric scooters who sell their meds to kids on the street….Ive seen it more than once!

Jerry says:

great idea

Joanna says:

If it saves a life…cool, but all in all it sounds like a band aid…amazed at the 400 opiod deaths in Ont! WOW

Bob says:

Now we promote? drug use ?

Sandra says:

Treatment or free drugs??

Karen says:

Why bother saving junkies???

bgee says:

what dummies

ratdog says:

another growing problem

dar w says:

Give the user a safety net to use drugs . waste of money!!

Jane says:

Good idea

My905Hamilton says:

…even in front of the police cameras

Armand says:

Good program

bgee says:

people will never learn, or learn the hard way when it is too late

Lisa says:

People can only get overdose when they can get their hands on those medicines. People who are on prescript medications for period of time should be monitored closely by their health care professions.

Starr says:

methadone clinics are a good way to end the suffering of that addiction.I know. because I am on methadone, it saved my life

ariadne89 says:

Addiction is sad, my family has been there. Anything involving harm reduction is so important.

Diane says:

Should be watched closely

Lisa says:

get it right guys

winkdickerson says:

Dangerous stuff.

Judy V says:

and then again there are health care professionals that prescribe these narcotics quite readily, do not follow up and their so called patients become life time addicts

Drunk James says:

where was this a year ago when my brother over dosed on that crap!!!

druch@bell.net says:

This program should help people

Randy says:

get them off the streets god

xjaysfan says:


Lyle Kent says:

Wow medicine was to make you better….It seems some have turned it inside out,

Giggles says:

Too easy to OD

zsazsa says:

An addict can and will abuse any drug

Debbie says:

I just had foot surgery and refused to take any narcotics for pain. I just didn’t wNt tobe addicted to anything.

Brigitt says:

I cant believe that is the cause of half the deaths in Hamilton hopefully the kis help save a life.

betty says:

doctors should limit amount prescribed

Christy says:

When people are in pain they need something to knock the pain out. Most people use Tylenol and 222 with Codeine (you can purchase these over the counter – no prescription) and people consider these drugs safe. Could very easily overdose by not watching how many pills they take and how often!

Johnny Rebel says:

it’s good if it can save a life!


I still don’t get it

jim says:

I thought it was harder to obtain these prescriptions?

Judy V says:

it all starts with the health Practioner


This is very scary stuff.

Pansy says:

All drugs are so scary. I even avoid all prescriptions if at all possible.

jpd says:

Doctors should pay more attention on the amount of scripts and how someone is using

xxmutterxx says:

More free drugs for addicts, this is better then the wasteful, unhelpful, unneeded totally the biggest stupidest idea called methadone. Substitute one drug for another like get real.

Paul Taylor says:

Preventing opioid deaths REHAB EH!

Jane says:

I have seen on cnn this drug before saved lots of addicts

mandusa says:

It’s scary how many drugs are addictive.

Ti Cat Fan says:

It’s a vicious circle isn’t it? Drugs, rehab, repeat.

Lee says:

I don’t understand how people get these drugs.

Lee says:

I suffer from chronic pain and all my doctor does for me is tell my to take Advil.

LEE says:

i think its to late

taylar says:

This is scary since it is also a prescriptive drug. Most drugs have side effects but addiction can be dangerous.