Opioid-related deaths leap in Windsor-Essex

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit says there was a sharp increase in opioid-related deaths in the region during the pandemic.

Sixty-eight people lost their lives in 2020, but in the second year of the pandemic, that number rose to 74.

In the first three months of 2021, 18 people lost their lives, compared to 11 during the same period this year.

Windsor-Essex typically loses 60 to 70 residents a year to opioid overdose, according to Acting Medical Officer of Health Doctor Shanker Nesathurai.

Earlier in the week, the Canadian Press reported data from the Ontario Office of the Chief Coroner showing nearly 2,800 provincial deaths between April 2021 and this past March.

While that’s only a two per cent increase from the same period a year before, it’s up significantly from 2019, when more than 1,500 people died.

Nesathurai said 60 per cent of the local deaths were inside a private home and encouraged everyone to get a naloxone kit.

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