Alert triggered for increase in drug-related emergency visits in Windsor
There were no opioids detected in any of the cases on either day
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit's (WECHU) monitoring system triggered an alert for a spike in drug-related emergency department visits on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.
According to the Windsor-Essex Community Opioid and Substance Strategy surveillance system, there were 10 drug-related visits on Nov. 30 and seven visits on Dec. 1.
Unlike past alerts, there were no opioids detected in any of the cases on either day. One of the cases on Nov. 30 included methamphetamines and one of the cases likely had multiple substances present.
The other cases involved substances other than opioids of amphetamines. In the two-day period, there was also one EMS dispatch for suspected opioid misuse.
The last alert was triggered Nov. 14 for 10 cases in a 24-hour period. At least two of those cases involved opioids. There have been four alerts since Oct. 30.
Dr. Wajid Ahmed, WECHU's medical officer of health, said the goal with the alert system is to establish a "prevention and education-type approach" in order to better inform community partners about reasons for emergency department visits.
"We haven't done a formal evaluation to comment on whether it has a positive or negative impact on the people who are actually using substances," he said. "But the hope is that if you're using all of these strategies, it should make an impact in their lives and adjust their behaviour based on the prevention and education efforts."
Ahmed added that the alerts themselves aren't triggered by patients visiting emergency departments due to any one particular substance issue, but rather any emergency department visit related to a substance.
"These are all emergency department-related visits, and not necessarily the worst-case scenario that people think about when they're thinking about overdoses," he said.
With files from Angelica Haggert