Exclusive – Data Shows Alarming Increase In Opioid Crisis In Northumberland County

In Editor Choice, Local

Exclusive – There is a “dramatic increase” in the amount of Narcan administered by Northumberland County Paramedics in 2018 compared to the previous year.
Chief Paramedic for Northumberland County Bill Detlor and Deputy Chief John Lindsay sat down with Today’s Northumberland and discussed the deadly issues with people using opiates.
In 2017, paramedics didn’t have a suspected opioid overdose code for data collection, so there is no way paramedics to separate “opioid” from “other” overdoses.
But paramedics did record when Narcan was used.
Narcan or Naloxone is a drug that reverses the effects of an opioid like Fentanyl and can potentially save a persons life.
In 2017, the number of patients that received Narcan throughout Northumberland County by paramedics was five. But in the first six months of 2018 the number of times paramedics have used Narcan was 21, which is an increase of 420%.
Just over half way through 2018, Northumberland County Paramedics are already at 88% of the total of 2017 overdoses (which included drug and alcohol).
Only 1/3 of the calls where paramedics attended Naloxone (Narcan) was administered.
The majority of overdoes calls occur in larger towns such as Cobourg, Port Hope, Campbellford and Brighton. Although no community is immune
Chief Bill Detlor said he’s very concerned what the statistics show.
“We’re looking at collaborating with our community partners to create a drug strategy.”
“With all of the new synthetic drugs that are coming and access seems to be a lot easier than it ever was before, we are very concerned.”
“The numbers are increasing and we’re looking at ways to mitigate that.” “and educate the public”
When paramedics arrive on scene, they first assess the individual to see if they are breathing. Narcan is administered almost a last resort.
“Our first line treatment for an opioid overdose is ventilation,” said Deputy Chief Lindsay.
“An opioid first effects a person’s breathing, it either stops or significantly slows.”
“If we’re not having success or working well enough then we would go to Narcan.”
Port Hope Police Service, Cobourg Police Service and Northumberland OPP all carry Narcan and have used it to treat an opioid overdose.
Deputy Chief Lindsay said although Narcan doesn’t do a person harm, “what it can do is it almost instantly reverses an overdose so it can put somebody into withdrawal and there are a series of side effects with withdrawal.”
Another statistic is some of the overdose calls paramedics respond to are to the same individuals.
“The known drug abusers, those circumstances haven’t change so we’re still assisting those calls when needed, but there are some you see more than others.”
Narcan has been around for many years, but it had always been a prescribed medication, but is now an “over the counter” medication.
“Just by virtue of what it does, it certainly makes a difference in opioid overdoses,” said Chief Detlor.
“It does make a difference, but the problem still needs to be addressed.”
“There are so many parts. Our business (paramedics) is a reactive one so 99% of the time we are reacting to a situation.”
Northumberland County Paramedics will be consulting with other community partners about trying to get the message out about how dangerous opioids can be, “but beyond that it’s an individuals choice. Hopefully some public messaging can make a difference, but beyond that we’re just going to keep reacting. You call – we’ll go.”

Northumberland Today asked Cobourg Police, Port Hope Police and Northumberland OPP their stats involving opioids.
Port Hope Police and Northumberland OPP submitted results, but after two e-mails to senior officers with the Cobourg Police, including the Chief and Deputy Chief, there has been no information provided.

Port Hope Police
Detective Constable Steve Fenton
Since January 2017, Port Hope Police Service has made 18 arrests for a wide range of substances, including, opiates such as hydromorphone’s and oxy’s. Arrests have also been made for trafficking in heroine, crack, meth and cocaine under these incidents, some of which are still before the courts during this time as well.
Some of the substances were sent away to Health Canada for analysis and many of them came back positive for Fentanyl as well as Car-Fentanyl. Port Hope Police have used Narcan six times as a result of an overdose since 2017.

Northumberland OPP
Detachment Commander Inspector Lisa Darling
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is committed to supporting safe, healthy communities for all Ontarians.
As a law enforcement organization, the OPP’s role in this crisis is to investigate opioid-related incidents with an acute focus on the apprehension of those who produce, import and traffic illegal drugs.
A breakdown of the incidents and charges related to opioids within Northumberland OPP’s area are provided below:
2015-2018 (as of August 13th)
Since 2015, the Northumberland OPP have been involved with 113 investigations where suspected* opioids were present. These investigations are not limited to, but include:
Thefts from Break and enters, overdoses, active drug unit investigations, charges resulting from ride programs, complaints, calls for service as well as drug intelligence received by police.
2015 – 27 Drug occurrences – 20 of those occurrences involved arrests and charges.
2016 – 24 Drug occurrences – 12 of those occurrences involved arrests and charges.
2017 – 27 Drug occurrences – 18 of those occurrences involved arrests and charges.
2018 – present (August 13th) – 35 Drug occurrences – 27 involved arrests and charges.
*categorized as suspected opioids as not all drugs have been verified by Health Canada at time of this incident search.
The following is a list of the drugs included in the incident search: (note: not all drugs listed below were suspected present in above incidents)
Oxycodone (Percodan)
MDMA (Ecstasy)
Crack cocaine
Barbiturates, their salts and derivatives

In Northumberland County, Trent Hills Fire Department along with Alnwick/Haldimand Township Fire Department are the only fire services that carry Narcan at this time. Chief Tim Blake said they’ve had Narcan on the vehicles, but in the eight months they’ve had it on their vehicles they have not used it.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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