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Regional Police release report on overdoses and deaths in 2017

A naloxone anti-overdose kit is shown in Vancouver, Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. A drug used to temporarily reverse the effect of fentanyl overdoses will be offered free of charge in Quebec pharmacies.The province will follow the example of at least Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island in offering the life-saving naloxone without people requiring a prescription. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Waterloo Regional Police have released their stats on overdoses — fatal and otherwise — from 2017.

There were 580 reported drug overdoses in the Region last year, resulting in 71 deaths.

Of those – 32 were in Kitchener, 29 in Cambridge, and 10 in Waterloo.

Most are blamed on opioids, whether heroin or fentanyl.

January 2017 had the highest number of reported overdoses, at 67; but then February had the lowest number of the year, at only 38.

The report by Inspector David Bishop says overdoses were spread out across the Region, and not confined to specific areas, or any given city’s downtown core.

Furthermore, most deaths occurred in private residences, not out in public, like in a park.

The report points out, “….it is evident that overdose trends are not noticeably affected by the volume of drug trafficking arrests we make,” with one exception.

The report says there was a noticeable decrease in overdoses and no deaths for the two weeks in October last year following the seizure of 1.5 kilograms of fentanyl.

Officers, ambulance crews, and drug users used Naloxone 250 times last year to stave off the effects of an overdose and save a life.

Regional Police started carrying Naloxone in May last year, and used the drug 21 times successfully.

The report, though, is expecting overdoses to get worse in 2018, given the overdose trends observed in Western Canada where fentanyl appeared before it was sold in Ontario.

The numbers are based on police and paramedic calls for service — the report says details about specific drug use in some cases are presumed at this time, where toxicology reports are still pending.