Thunder Bay Is Ravaged By The Opioid Crisis And Waiting For An Overdose Prevention Site

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Thunder Bay’s rate of overdose deaths is reportedly double the provincial average. Although Ontario as a whole has not been hit as hard by the overdose fatalities which are primarily driven by the rise of fentanyl and carfentanil in the drug supply as British Columbia or Alberta, Thunder Bay, Ont., is a disturbing exception.

According to the Ontario’s chief coroner, the city and its surrounding area had twice the rate of deaths by overdose in 2017 (18 per 100,000 people) as the provincial average (8.9 per 100,000).

Public health officials and the police say that there are a few factors that could make Thunder Bay vulnerable and these include limited access to health and social services, high rates of emotional trauma and more among the large indigenous population that lead to addiction and high rates of poverty.

It also seems that the city is targeted by gangs from Toronto and Ottawa due to its remote location because this means that they can sell drugs at a higher price on the street.

The opioid crisis is getting worse

This whole situation is not showing improvement signs at all. For instance, between January and August this year, paramedics have responded to over 173 overdoses and here are included only the people who have called for an ambulance.

It’s also almost double the total number of calls from last year, with four more months to go this year.

“In the 20 years that I’ve been a nurse in Thunder Bay I’ve never seen a problem this bad,” said Tannice Fletcher-Stackhouse, a nurse practitioner at NorWest Community Health Centres.

She’s in a team working at a “rapid response addiction medicine” clinic that opened a few months ago at NorWest’s south-end Thunder Bay location. This is an area where there is rampant drug activity.

Currently, the Ontario government is committed to fighting the opioid crisis by all means.


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