Two recent deaths in the NWT’s southern region may have been the result of opioid-related overdoses, according to the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO).
The OCPHO issued a public health advisory on Feb. 24 following the two deaths, which occurred in an unspecified community in the south of the NWT. The advisory said the fatalities may have been the result of cocaine mixed with other substances.
“The concern is the deaths are due to opioid adulterants and that every NWT community is at risk of receiving these lethal, illicit drugs,” the advisory reads.
An estimated 12,800 people in Canada died from opioid-related overdoses between January 2016 and March 2019, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. In December, Canada’s chief public health officer, Theresa Tam, and Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health, estimated that between 1,200 and 2,000 Canadians would die of opioid-related overdoses in each of the first two quarters of 2022.
Thanks to the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act, anyone who seeks medical help for an overdose, either for themselves or another person, will not be charged with possession of a controlled substance. Residents can also receive naloxone kits at every pharmacy, hospital and medical centre in the territory.