P.E.I. has had three deaths from fentanyl this year, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said in a briefing Tuesday.
Morrison opened her regular weekly briefing on COVID-19 with an update on fentanyl overdoses in the province.
P.E.I. recorded its third fatal overdose, a man in his 40s, last week.
The first, a woman in her 20s in May, was previously reported. Morrison confirmed the second incident, a man in his 20s in July, at the briefing.
Morrison encouraged street-drug users to carry naloxone, a drug effective in countering the lethal effects of fentanyl.
“Anyone consuming street drugs, not only opiates, but any drug in pill or powder form, should take steps to reduce the risks, carry naloxone, and inform others who may use drugs that naloxone is available,” said Morrison.
The province has been tracking fentanyl-related deaths since 2016, and had only recorded two before 2020 — one in 2016 and one in 2018.
From January to March of this year, there were no fentanyl overdoses in the province, Morrison said. From April to June there were nine non-fatal overdose cases, six involving fentanyl. From July through September there were another three non-fatal fentanyl overdoses.
Naloxone kits are available from the provincial needle exchange program by calling toll-free 1-887-637-0333 or visiting a program site.
Free kits are also available to clients of mental health and addictions programs and select community groups.
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