Spike in Toronto area suspected overdose deaths could impact Northern communities

Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Board paramedics have begun to deliver naloxone kits to those at-risk members of the Manitoulin community. Naloxone kits come in two forms: intramuscular injection, as seen above, or nasal spray. In the time of pandemic, intramuscular injection is seen as the least intrusive method. Shutterstock

MANITOULIN – Toronto police issued a warning about a spike in suspected overdose deaths recently which prompted United Chiefs and Councils of Manitoulin Anishnaabe Police Service (UCCM APS) to remind and warn the public that a spike in Toronto overdoses could impact overdoses in this area due to most of Manitoulin’s opioids’ origin of supply coming from southern Ontario.

“If the supply from Toronto is tainted and causing a spike in the Toronto area and that ends up being the same supply being brought to the North then a similar spike could possibly happen in our communities,” the UCCM APS warn.

Since April 2021, UCCM APS has been working jointly with Wikwemikong Tribal Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Police Community Street Crime Unit on Manitoulin Island. Fifteen people have been charged with 70 charges relating to the trafficking of controlled substances, weapons and money.  Three of the accused are from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

During this time: $55,990 in Canadian currency has been seized as property obtained by crime; and $47,517 in controlled substances has been seized (fentanyl, cocaine, crack cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, hydromorphone pills, marijuana, hashish). “This indicates that there is a supply and demand for opioids in our communities,” the press release continues.

The public is reminded to call 911 if they suspect a person has overdosed and needs immediate medical attention. The Good Samaritan Act protects people, acting in good faith trying to save an individual’s life from criminal prosecution in certain circumstances and situations.

All three forces remain committed to working collaboratively and will continue to focus its efforts on major crime operations that pose a direct and elevated threat to the safety, security, and wellness of our communities, the press release continues. “This combined Integrated Street Crime Unit is a Joint Force Operation and aims to identify and disrupt organized crime on Manitoulin Island through innovative technology, collaborative partnerships and traditional Police work resulting in the arrests of those involved, holding them accountable for their criminal activities and the seizure of illegal drugs, prohibited firearms and proceeds of crime.”

If anyone has further information regarding drug trafficking and organized crime, please contact UCCM Police at 705-377-7135 or Sudbury Rainbow Crime Stoppers at 705-222-TIPS (8477) or 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submit an online tip at www.sudburycrimestoppers.com.Together we can make a difference.

If you are addicted to drugs, or know someone who is addicted and are looking for assistance in recovery, there are contacts that can help put you in touch with the services and resources you require and are suited to your particular and individual needs:

• UCCM Social Navigator: https://www.uccmpolice.com/programs/social-navigator-initiative/

• Noojmowin Teg Health Centre: http://www.noojmowin-teg.ca/programs-services/community-addictions-support-workers

• Mnidoo Mnising Mental Wellness Crisis Response Team: 705-348-1937

• Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Team: 705-348-1968

Recovering from addiction is a long and often complicated journey and we must continue to work with the diverse and complex needs of community members.

A reminder that naloxone kits are free of charge from all pharmacies.