The Grey Bruce Health Unit warns there have been multiple fatal overdoses in the area the past five days.
In a news release, the health unit says it is not only affecting the larger towns and cities, but virtually every small community, hamlet and village within the region.
There is concern the local street drug supply at present is highly toxic and deadly. The Health Unit advises people must assume any and all drugs purchased on the street contain Fentanyl or Canfentanil, two highly potent synthetic opioids.
Many neighbouring jurisdictions have reported Fentanyl in the cocaine supply as well, leading to fatal overdoses.
“We have strong reason to believe that there are fatal additions to the street drug supply, more than likely Fentanyl or Carfentanil. We are calling on everyone in the public to be aware, and if you are using street drugs, to follow the directions from Public Health. Please call 911, we will respond to save you, not arrest you – the Good Samaritan Act will keep you safe from arrest for possession," says Owen Sound Police Detective Sergeant Craig Matheson in a statement.
The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act provides protection from simple possession charges when 911 is called for an overdose.
The Grey Bruce Health Unit plans to lead an emergency response team in response to the significant increase in fatal overdoses.
"We will be calling on external partners to take part in emergency meetings to address this local public health crisis," says Public Health manager Ian Reich. “We are mobilizing staff to distribute lifesaving Naloxone medication during the weekend, as well as offering as many resources to help those struggling with any substance us challenges in their life. We also want to ensure that people who are using drugs are aware of the toxicity of the street drug supply.”