In July 2020, the Bureau du Coroner du Québec reported 23 deaths possibly or probably related to street drug intoxication in Montreal. More than half of these cases occurred between July 20 and 28. This is the highest number of deaths in one month since overdose monitoring was established in 2014.
This increase mostly affects men between 20 and 59 years old, who died at home in the surrounding neighbourhoods and cities of the region. Six deaths were reported between August 3 and 11, 2020, of which half were of people under 30.
The reported drugs, often mixed, were mainly stimulants (crack, cocaine, amphetamines). The risk of dying from an overdose of stimulants is increased when surrounding temperatures are high. Five cases are possibly related to opioids, of which only one is thought to be fentanyl (purple powder).
Montreal Public Health officials call for caution
The Direction régionale de santé publique de Montréal invites all drug users and their family and friends to be cautious.
1. Please share this information with others.
2. Follow lower-risk use guidelines:
- For those who inject, use supervised injection services regularly
- Avoid using alone
- When several people use together, avoid using all at the same time
- Reduce the dose to test its effects
- Have naloxone on hand and know how to use it when someone shows signs of an overdose (naloxone is a drug used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. It can be acquired for free without a prescription in any pharmacy)
- If possible, use fentanyl detection strips
- Call 911 in case of an overdose (the Loi sur les bons samaritains secourant les victimes de surdose guarantees immunity from prosecution for simple possession for witnesses of an overdose who call 911)
- Supervised injection services
- Overdose warning (in French) | Risque de surdosesliées à la consommation de fentanyl, July 17, 2020
- Overdose warning (in French) | Risque de surdoses liées à la consommation de fentanyl et d’héroïne, July 2, 2020
- Overdose warning (in French) | Risque de surdoses liées à la consommation de fentanyl dans de la poudre cristalline mauve vendue comme de l’héroïne, June 12, 2020