Opioid overdoses trending down after December spike from Oshawa to Pickering

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Published April 10, 2024 at 11:18 am

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The rate of opioid overdoses across Durham Region is trending down after a spike late last year, according to new tracking software.

The Region announced a new online overdose tracking program on April 10. The program shows a line graph of suspected overdose-related paramedic calls, opioid-related emergency room visits and opioid deaths.

“The collection and monitoring of information related to local opioid concerns are crucial in working to address opioid-related drug toxicity overdoses and deaths,” the Region wrote, “A key benefit of the dashboard is that it provides health and social service providers with local, up-to-date information they can use for service planning.”

According to the graph the last peak occurred in December, which saw 98 suspected overdose calls and 41 ER visits. The latest information shows 72 suspected overdoses and 21 ER visits, a reduction of 30 and 65 per cent respectively. The data on opioid-related deaths only goes up to last November.

The last peak prior to December was in June 2023 which saw 86 suspected overdose calls, 72 ER visits and seven deaths. Before that spike much of 2022 and 2023 saw between 30 and 67 paramedic calls per month.

These rates pale in comparison to 2021, however. During the September peak that year, paramedics responded to 127 opioid calls and 102 opioid users went to the ER. That month saw 12 opioid-related deaths.

In total each year has seen;

  • 97 deaths in 2020
  • 117 deaths in 2021
  • 75 deaths in 2022, and
  • 64 deaths in 2023 (as of November)

“The new interactive dashboard focuses on time trends by presenting all opioid-related data together in a single visual and allows users to explore the data by week, month, or year,” epidemiologist Katie Bradley said, “A key highlight of the dashboard is the moving averages that were added to the weekly data to help provide context to overall trends.”

 

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