Surge of overdoses straining Ottawa ERs
Emergency rooms dealt with 108 overdoses in April alone, new figures show
Doctors who work in the Queensway-Carleton Hospital's emergency room say they're continuing to see patients coming in with serious drug overdoses that need immediate intervention and resuscitation.
According to new numbers released Thursday by Ottawa Public Health, all of Ottawa's emergency departments are busy dealing with overdoses — with 108 reported in April alone.
Public health officials are now releasing overdose statistics as part of a new public awareness initiative.
"[We need] lots and lots of hands on deck to get these people's lives saved," said Shouldice. "The thing that we're finding now is we're getting more people coming looking for help with addiction to the emergency department."
In late April, the public health department decided to issue an alert after seeing a sudden spike in overdoses over three days.
"We sort of knew what to expect — that there was something out there on the street," Shouldice said. "And that was really helpful."
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The reports allow health experts to monitor data "on a weekly basis" to check for sudden increases or decreases in overdose rates, said Andrew Hendriks, a manager at Ottawa Public Health.
"It allows us to do more messaging if needed," said Hendriks, who chairs the city's overdose prevention and response task force.
Meanwhile, a grassroots parents group in Ottawa recently set up to tackle teen opioid drug abuse has been calling for better real-time reporting of overdose cases — especially among the city's youth.
"If we have more information, we'll be more aware of what's going on," said Sean O'Leary, executive director of We the Parents. "Good communication between parties will go a long way."