3 dead in Durham region from drug overdoses, fentanyl suspected

Three people died of drug overdose in Durham region early Friday morning, under circumstances leading police to suspect fentanyl as the cause of the fatalities.

Durham police are investigating 3 deaths on Friday after spate of non-fatal overdoses

Three men died of suspected drug overdoses early Friday morning in two separate areas of Durham region.

People who live in an Ajax apartment building are on edge after learning of two suspected fentanyl overdoses in their high-rise early Friday morning.

In all, the Durham Regional Police Service says three people died of drug overdoses in Durham Friday.

Police suspect fentanyl is the cause, although investigators are waiting to receive official confirmation from the province's forensic lab. 

Police say at 3:45 a.m., a friend found a 45-year-old man and a 31-year-old man dead in an apartment at 55 Falby Court in Ajax.

They were pronounced dead at the scene, said Const. George Tudos. 

Two men overdosed and died at a high-rise apartment building on Falby Court in Ajax early Friday morning, Durham police say. (Chris Glover/CBC)

Abby Misseri told CBC Toronto she panicked after learning both men lived in the same building where her 25-year-old son lives. She raced to the scene, where she found out her son and his roommate were not involved.

This drug doesn't discriminate. It doesn't matter what race or gender or where you come from neighbourhood-wise.- Const. George Tudos, Durham police

"Thank God," said Misseri. "It's a little close for comfort … but I guess this can happen anywhere."

Misseri's son, Brandon, was shocked to learn the deadly overdoses occurred in his generally quiet neighbourhood.

"It's terrible," he said. "I heard this stuff was in like Toronto, like it was blowing up in Toronto and whatever, but now it's kind of stressing me out."

Fentanyl doesn't discriminate: police

Meanwhile at around 6:40 a.m. in Bowmanville, also in Durham, a man in his 20s was found dead by one of his family members in their home. Police are not releasing the location.  

Toxicology reports and post mortems still need to be completed, however Durham police are treating all three as suspected fentanyl overdoses, because of drug paraphernalia found with the deceased, along with other evidence.

There's only a small difference between a medicinal dose of fentanyl and a lethal dose. (CBC)

"We know that fentanyl has been utilized by many and has been a culprit in many overdoses within our region," said Tudos. 

"This drug doesn't discriminate. It doesn't matter what race or gender or where you come from neighbourhood-wise."

4 fatal fentanyl overdoses in 2 weeks

Durham police say there have been four fatal drug overdoses and 12 non-fatal overdoses in Durham in the past two weeks.

Opioid overdoses have been a problem in Durham for months. In June, Durham police reported eight non-fatal overdoses in a 24 hour period.

"I think this is a crisis in North America in the sense that it's happening everywhere," Tudos said.

Naloxone only counteracts the effects of fentanyl for 30 minutes. (CBC News)

Frontline supervisors and special units carry naloxone kits, which contain a drug that temporarily reverses an opioid overdose, Tudos said. He added that the kits have been used successfully on a number of overdose calls this summer.

This is a crisis in North America in the sense that it's happening everywhere.- Const. George Tudos, Durham police

Tudos warns that any recreational or illicit drug can be tainted with fentanyl, not just other opioids.

"You never know what type of drugs are going to be mixed and what you're buying," he said, adding that there's no specific type of drug user that has emerged as predominantly at risk of an overdose. "With all the overdose cases we have, it can be anyone. These types of drugs don't discriminate."

Drugs collected at the scene of Friday's overdoses won't be identified until lab tests are returned, he added.