Hamilton Opioid Information System

Hamilton Public Health Services is collaborating with Hamilton Paramedic Services, Hamilton Health Sciences, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, and community partners to provide timely opioid-related information to the public.

Alert

February 1, 2019: Purple Heroin Alert - Public Health Services has received reports of overdoses due to Purple Heroin, a highly toxic synthetic laced heroin, circulating the community.  People say it can cause confusion, and speech problems.  People also say it can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea for several days after. This serves as an important reminder to the community that street drugs continue to be cut (mixed) with toxic substances.

There is no easy way to know what is in your drugs. You can't see it, smell it or taste it. Substances such as fentanyl and carfentanil can be cut (mixed) with other drugs. Even a very small amount can cause an overdose.

June 22, 2018: Blue Heroin Alert Public Health Services has received multiple reports of overdoses attributed to “Blue Heroin”, a highly toxic fentanyl laced heroin, circulating the community.  This serves as an important reminder to the community that street drugs continue to be cut (mixed) with substances such as fentanyl.

March 2018: Purple Heroin Alert: Public Health Services has received multiple reports of overdoses attributed to “Purple Heroin”, a highly toxic fentanyl laced heroin, circulating in the community. This serves as an important reminder to the community that street drugs continue to be cut (mixed) with substances such as fentanyl.

September 2017: Public Health Services has received reports of fentanyl laced methamphetamine circulating in the community. This serves as an important reminder to the community that street drugs can be cut (mixed) with substances such as fentanyl.

March 2017: Public Health Services has been notified of reports of a drug called “takeover” or "dirty fentanyl" which is crack laced with fentanyl. Reports are that this drug is causing an immediate and dangerous loss of consciousness. 

December 2016: Be aware that street drugs in Hamilton may contain a deadly opioid drug carfentanil. It is 100 times more toxic than fentanyl and is hidden in other drugs. It will cause more overdoses and deaths.

An opioid overdose is a medical emergency. Prevent opioid overdose death and save lives using the 4 C’s of safety:

  • Careful Use - Don’t use alone, go slow by testing the effect with small amounts first.
  • Carry naloxone - Get a FREE naloxone kit, and training at the following locations:
    • City of Hamilton Public Health Services Harm Reduction program: 905-546-4276.
    • Participating local pharmacies by calling the Drug and Alcohol Helpline: 1-800-565-8603.
  • Call 9-1-1 for every overdose. You, your friend or family member needs hospital care to survive.
  • CPR. Push Hard, Push Fast.

 

Opioid information highlights

So far in 2019 (Jan 1 to Jun 9):

  • Hamilton Paramedic Services has responded to 383 incidents related to suspected opioid overdoses.

Since 2017:

  • most suspected cases were male (74%)
  • average age of cases was 36 years

View more information about paramedic events for opioid overdoses

Naloxone is a medication that reverses the effects of opioid overdose.

So far in 2019:

  • 5,027 naloxone doses were distributed by Public Health and the Naloxone Expansion Sites, reviving 611 lives.

In 2018:

  • 6,412 naloxone doses were distributed by Public Health Services
  • 568 people were revived

View more information about distributed Naxolone kits

 

Between June 3 and June 9, 2019:

  • 80 people visited Hamilton emergency departments for drug misuse or overdoses (includes substances other than opioids)
  • Among these, 28 were suspected overdoses (may have been related to any drug or substance)

In March 2019:

  • 111 emergency department visits and 7 hospitalizations for opioid poisoning 

View more information about emergency department visits

Opioid-related deaths are increasing annually in Hamilton. The preliminary opioid-related deaths during the first 9 months (Jan-Sep) of 2018  (89) is 20% higher than the number of deaths (74) from the same period last year (Jan-Sep 2017) and has surpassed the total number of death for all of 2017 (88).

In 2017:

  • 88 Hamilton residents died from opioid overdose
  • Hamilton's death rate was 72% higher than Ontario's

View more information about opioid-related deaths

 

Contact us

If you have any questions or wish to provide feedback, contact:
Epidemiology & Evaluation
Email: phase@hamilton.ca