OTTAWA -- Health officials in Renfrew County are reporting a "sharp increase" in opioid overdoses over the past few weeks as purple and yellow fentanyl circulates in the region.

The Renfrew County and District Health Unit (RCDHU) and the Renfrew Paramedic Service issued a warning about an increase in overdoses across the region.

"Paramedics have noticed a sharp increase in opioid overdose calls in the past few weeks and reached out to partners at RCDHU, who have been working to inform the general public that these life-threatening drugs have been discovered in RCD," says Acting Commander Steve Osipenko.

Officials say although specific opioids related to the increase in overdoses have not been confirmed, it is known that purple and yellow fentanyl are circulating in communities across Renfrew County.

Yellow and purple fentanyl are reported to be highly toxic.

Health officials recommend that if you do use street drugs, follow these measures to reduce the risk of an overdose:

  • Don’t use alone—If you overdose, there will be no one there to help.
  • Don’t mix drugs—Don’t mix drugs with other drugs or alcohol, as it puts you at higher risk of overdosing.
  • Go slow—Quality of street drugs is unpredictable. Start by using in small amounts (testers or test doses) to check the strength of what you are using.
  • Carry naloxone/Narcan—Naloxone can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose. Kits are available for free.
  • Know your tolerance—Risk of overdose increases if you are a new user or have not used in three days.