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.


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.

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.

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

In 2018:

  • So far, Hamilton Paramedic Services has responded to over 153 incidents related to suspected opioid overdoses.

Since 2017:

  • most suspected cases were male (72%)
  • 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 2018:

  • 986 naloxone kits were distributed by Public Health, reviving 258 lives.

In 2017:

  • 1718 naloxone kits were distributed by Public Health Services
  • 460 people were revived

View more information about distributed Naxolone kits


Between May 7 and 13, 2018:

  • 75 people visited Hamilton emergency departments for drug misuse or overdoses (includes substances other than opioids)
  • Among these, 27 were suspected overdoses (may have been related to any drug or substance)

In January 2018:

  • 21 emergency department visits for opioid poisoning
  • 8 hospital admissions at Hamilton hospitals

View more information about emergency department visits

Opioid-related deaths are increasing annually in Hamilton.

In January to October, 2017:

  • Approximately 75 Hamilton residents died from opioid overdose
  • Hamilton's death rate was 78% 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