The H.O.P.E Project is a group of professional stakeholders and people with lived experience/ family members working to prevent and reduce both fatal and non-fatal overdose in Halton region.
A drug overdose is defined as “the accidental or intentional use of a drug or medicine in an amount that is higher than is normally used.” It is hard to ignore the increased number of overdose deaths happening (many due to the powerful opiate Fentanyl) which some media outlets have been referring to as a “Canada-wide disaster.” There are many however, who feel that overdose is not something we need to worry about, or focus on in Halton. It is important to remember that although much of the conversation and many of the prevention resources are focused on opioid overdoses, a large number of overdoses are caused by mixing drugs and most drugs, including alcohol, pose a potential overdose threat.
For a number of reasons overdose deaths are not as easy to track in Ontario as in some other provinces and other parts of the world. It is difficult to get updated, accurate numbers from a municipal level as well. We do know, statistically, that overdose deaths across Ontario rose 463% between 2000 and 2013. Anecdotally, we have heard far too many stories of friends and family members, right here in our own region, who have lost loved ones due to accidental drug overdose.
As one of our early areas of priority, the Halton Equitable Drug Strategy is focusing on overdose prevention. Please find some helpful resources below and check back soon for information on our Overdose Awareness Sub-Committee that is beginning in late 2015. If you are interested in getting involved in this sub-committee or seeing how else you may be able to get involved with the drug strategy please contact us here.
A Warning About Fentanyl
As more and more overdose deaths are being reported from Fentanyl across the country, we feel it is important to bring special attention to this issue.
MacLeans Magazine –
Fentanyl: The king of all drugs and a killer drug crisis
The Huffington Post –
Here is a fairly comprehensive list of articles related to Fentanyl
A Warning About Fentanyl cont…
As a number of those articles point out, many of the people who have overdosed and died did not even realize they were taking Fentanyl. Many thought they were taking Oxycontin but had ‘fake Oxy’s’ that contained Fentanyl. Some of that is discussed in this video by The National:
The Waterloo Crime Prevention Council has put together a very thorough and comprehensive web page focused on overdose prevention.
Opiod Overdose Prevention & Response in Canada – Canadian Drug Policy Coalition – Simon Fraser University
This worksheet is a component of Guide to Developing and Managing Overdose Prevention and Take-Home Naloxone Projects, produced by Harm Reduction Coalition (harmreduction.org)
Overdose Prevention and Survival From Harm Reduction Coalition (source: The Body: The Complete HIV/ AIDS Resource)