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Opioid overdoses in Ottawa well above 2022 levels, police chief says

Naloxone Kit

Opioid overdoses in Ottawa are on the rise, the city's police chief says, and officers have administered naloxone to dozens of people.

Speaking to reporters ahead of Monday's Ottawa Police Services Board meeting, Chief Eric Stubbs said there has been a significant spike in calls for overdoses in 2023 compared to the year before.

"I can tell you that these calls have risen, year-to-date when compared to 2022, by 163 per cent," he said. "In fact, we've already exceeded all the calls we received in 2022… and of course, that's the ones that we get, and we don't get them all, but we do get a number of them or we assist paramedics with those calls."

Stubbs said Ottawa police officers administered naloxone 88 times so far this year, up 30 per cent compared to 2022.

"We estimate that we have saved 78 lives so far this year," Stubbs said.

Stubbs told the Ottawa Police Services Board that the police service received 966 calls about overdoses so far this year, compared to 367 over the same time in 2022.

Just this past weekend, police tweeted about two cases where officers administered naloxone to people experiencing an overdose in the ByWard Market and Lowertown.

Stubbs added that the police force's drug unit has been working with Ottawa Public Health to roll out a new initiative that equips frontline police officers with extra naloxone kits to give out to members of the public.

"Family members, friends of people who are users, who are overdosing, so they can more quickly respond to their loved one or friend if they're having an overdose," he explained. "We're trying to get them in the hands of people other than first responders or medical personnel because clearly they do save lives."

Earlier this month, Ottawa police and paramedics said they had responded to more than 30 overdoses in a single weekend all across the city, 20 of which required hospitalization.

The latest data from Ottawa Public Health only provides figures up to May 2023. According to the data, there were 472 emergency department visits for opioid overdoses between January and May, compared to 357 in the same time in 2022. There were 866 total emergency visits for overdoses in 2022. 


A previous version of this story said there were 357 calls to police about overdoses in 2022. That was a typo. Police chief Eric Stubbs said there were 367 calls. Top Stories

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