Local outreach urges drug users not to be alone



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Heart-cutting messages of over-suspected overdose deaths continue to enter the social media accounts of local prevention advocate Brandon Bailey.

"It looks like they're non-stop," Bailey said. He has heard of three more suspected overdose deaths in Windsor in the last two weeks.

"People will send me messages if they hear of an overdose death. The drug community in Windsor is small enough that, one way or another, we're all connected to each other. "

Bailey and other members of the Windsor Overdose Prevention Society distribute information leaflets in various locations around the city, where they know people are using drugs.

The leaflets urge drug users to never use them alone and, if necessary, Bailey himself will meet them at home or on the sidewalk to make sure he does not overdo it.

He made the same request on Facebook in late November, shortly after losing a friend to an opiate-related overdose.

Most recently, on Dec. 3, Bailey said a woman he knew 26 years ago was found dead in his apartment.

"I did not hear the toxicology report, but we're not stupid, we know what happened," Bailey said.

He heard of another overdose death in a cafeteria bathroom near the end of Dec. 6 and another in a motel room in Windsor on Dec. 11.

The Windsor Police Service had no information to share in any of these incidents.

"Our service has not had any recent news of this nature," said Steve Betteridge, the department's director of public information, in an e-mail.

The Ontario Chief Coroner, Dr. Dirk Huyer, also had no information about these specific deaths.

"I know there have been some concerns a few weeks ago," Huyer said, referring to five overdose deaths in Windsor over a 24-hour period from November 10-11. "When we see something like this, we try to scale testing to see if there is a specific substance involved that was not known to us before."

At the time of the five overdose deaths reported, a WPS spokesperson said that the use of fentanyl was suspect.

Huyer said he could not share the test results with the media.

Huyer said there were 11 deaths related to opiates in Windsor in the first six months of 2018 and that represents a decrease compared to 2017.

"We've seen improvements in the Windsor numbers, the good thing is they are down, and we expect them to keep falling," Huyer said. "I can tell they are not in the rest of Ontario.

Provincially, he said, the number of opiate-related deaths in the first six months of 2018 increased by 16% over the same period last year.

Overall, in 2017, there were 1,265 opioid-related deaths in Ontario, with 30 of them in Windsor.

As for Bailey, he will continue to press for a safe injection site and the police to load the life-saving Naloxone kit.

"People know the risks out there," he said. "But at the same time, many people have so much pain that they are willing to take the risk of alleviating pain. I do evangelism every day and most of the people I talk to do not want to die. If they are using it on an injection site, people will not die.

A fentanyl detection kit is shown on Thursday. The Windsor Overdose Prevention Society is distributing them to local drug users.

Dan Janisse /

Windsor Star

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