Montreal police respond to calls of six overdoses

By The Canadian Press & News Staff

Six people needed to be transported to hospital on Sunday due to potential drug overdoses.

Montreal police (SPVM) reports two people were in critical condition at the time they were transported to hospital. As of Monday morning, five were in stable condition, one 42-year-old woman remained in critical condition.

Calls to 911 were made around 4:10 p.m. about people suffering potential overdoses at Saint-Dominique, near Ontario east in downtown Montreal.

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The SPVM reports they opened an investigation, were able to collect the drugs and will be analyzing the substances to determine exactly what they contained.

The victims will also be met by investigators to help determine where they allegedly acquired the drugs.

Urgences-sante spokesman Sebastien Coulombe says a second call was received from the same area slightly over an hour later and that two additional people were sent to hospital.

Heather Johnston with Projets Autochtones du Quebec, which operates a shelter for Indigenous people in downtown Montreal, says six of the people who overdosed were staying at the centre.

Montreal public health has also opened an investigation.

In a statement Montreal public health said they are currently investigating the severe overdoses in downtown Montreal – without confirming a number of cases.

“We are conducting this investigation in collaboration with several partners in order to fully characterize the situation and the risk to the public. This situation is extremely worrying. Unfortunately, this is not the first time a situation of this kind has occurred, due to the instability and contamination of street drugs in Montreal, notably by fentanyl, xylazine or nitazenes,” said Jean Nicolas Aubé, with the CIUSSS du du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal.

They invite street drug users, whatever the mode of consumption (inhalation, injection or other), to be cautious by:

  • For those who inject, regularly attend supervised consumption services. Avoid using alone. When several people are using, avoid using all at once.
  • Have naloxone available in sufficient quantities and know how to use it when a person shows signs of overdose. In case of doubt, don’t hesitate to use it (no danger even if not necessary).
  • Call 911 in the event of an overdose (the Good Samaritan Overdose Witnesses Act provides immunity from prosecution for simple possession to witnesses of an overdose who call 911).
  • Attend drug testing services.
  • Reduce the drug dose to test its effects, especially if the drug comes from a new source.

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