Toronto police are urging drug users to be ‘extremely cautious’ after a spike in overdoses in the downtown core Wednesday night.
Sixteen people were treated for overdose and 12 transported to hospital in the span of hours Wednesday night, according to a press release from Toronto police.
The release stated that a suspect has been arrested in connection with the presumably tainted drug supply in question.
During a news conference on Thursday, Feb. 27, Toronto police said that those affected were given naloxone — a life-saving drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose — but that it did not work as expected. In light of this, they said that a substance other than fentanyl may be present in supply.
A sample is currently being tested to determine the source of these overdoses, according to Coun. Joe Cressy.
The Works, a supervised consumption site at Victoria and Dundas Streets, extended its hours Thursday and additional paramedics have been stationed nearby, according to a press release from Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health.
Alannah Fricker, president of the Ryerson chapter of the Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy and administrator to the Jack Layton Chair and the Toronto Harm Reduction Alliance, said that spreading awareness about overdose incidents like this is important.
“Students do use drugs, but regardless of that everyone should know when there is a tainted supply so that the information can be passed along to people who could be at risk,” she said.
In an email, Ryerson security said that they are unable to comment as this is an active Toronto police matter.
Resources for how to identify an overdose in progress and what actions to take are available on the City of Toronto’s website.
This story is developing and we will provide updates as information becomes available.
This article has been updated to correct the spelling of a name. A previous version of this story spelled Alannah Fricker’s name as “Allanah.”