Sudbury

Overdose Awareness Day puts spotlight on drug use in Sudbury

Sudbury’s Reseau Access Network says an increasing number of drug overdoses in Sudbury are preventable.

Sudbury group says in first 9 months of 2017, 30 people died of overdose

An injection kit is shown at a supervised drug injection facility in Vancouver. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Sudbury's Reseau Access Network says an increasing number of drug overdoses in Sudbury are preventable.

Amber Fritz, an outreach worker with the organization, told CBC News that potent traces of drugs like fentanyl and carfentanyl in street drugs can kill.

Although Ontario's coroner has not released official numbers on deaths in 2018, Fritz said In the first nine months of 2017, 30 people died of drug overdoses in Greater Sudbury.

And with the provincial government's review of policies surrounding supervised injection sites, and a premier who said he is "dead set" against the sites, Fritz said cities are going to find it difficult to tackle their problems.

"People are dying and that's not going to be put on hold while certain services are being reviewed," Fritz said.

"This is where we're at right now and we have to work within the system we have, but its pretty horrifying coming from a harm reduction perspective or coming from the perspective of anyone with compassion that cares about the lives of other people."

Amber Fritz, an outreach worker with Reseau Access Network, spoke with CBC's Morning North about Overdose Awareness Day. (Brodie Siren/CBC)

Fritz said over the past year, she has heard from drug users, some who have survived multiple overdoses in a single day.

The challenge, Fritz says, will be to convince the public that Sudbury's drug problem has a human face.

"The stigma that surrounds drug use, especially injection drug use removes the humanity for some people when they see them as less than, because they're struggling and they're using drugs," Fritz said.

To find out more about Overdose Awareness Day, or to contact the Reseau Action Network, visit their website.

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