Posted on

Pace of local suspected drug deaths slowing, events planned

Close sticky video

Article content

Community events marking International Overdose Awareness Day on Aug. 31 come amid a series of local deaths which have slowed this year over last.

Advertisement 2

Article content

Statistics show 28 people died by fentanyl or another opioid overdose in Grey-Bruce last year. But those are just coroner-confirmed cases.

There were actually 46 suspected drug deaths in Grey-Bruce last year but the cause has not been confirmed in all cases. So far this year there have been 20 suspected drug deaths, Grey Bruce Health Unit figures show.

Comparing May, June and July, there were eight suspected drug deaths last year and four this year.

So the pace of suspected drug deaths has slowed this year, said Alexis Cook, the health unit’s harm reduction manager responsible for responding to the opioid problem.

There was another suspected fatal opioid overdose in Owen Sound Thursday. The health unit has issued three overdose alerts this month, triggered when there are three or more overdoses in a 48-hour period.

Advertisement 3

Article content

The person who died was in his or her mid-30s and Cook noted people aged 25 to 44 are three times more likely than any other age group to experience a fatal drug overdose. Local and provincial data both show that, she said.

Fatal drug overdoses peaked in 2020 during the pandemic, when more than 2,400 people in Ontario died. That was a 58 per cent increase over 2019, when 1,529 people died.

Cook said local figures indicate we all need to be aware of the ongoing drug overdose crisis. People can help by being trained and carrying naloxone kits containing the drug which temporarily reverses an opioid drug overdose.

Also, people should know the Good Samaritan Act protects people from simple drug possession charges when 911 is called, she said.

Advertisement 4

Article content

Cook said the health unit is “currently working with community partners to build a response, as it is a priority for public health, and to increase our current response.” Public health nurses visited drug users in the community during each of the three overdose alerts this month, Cook said.

“The nurses went out and they did targeted outreach and ensured that individuals who were using drugs had access to naloxone . . . we hand out needles as well and we do meth kits and crack kits to ensure individuals are using as safely as possible.”

The nurses reminded them to use drugs with someone else present who can administer naloxone, or use while on the line with an operator with the Overdose Prevention Line, who will call 911 if the user becomes unresponsive, she said.

Advertisement 5

Article content

Naloxone is available free-of-charge at the health unit Monday to Friday and from community partners, including paramedics and mental health workers.

To mark International Overdose Awareness Day, there will be a community barbecue at Neyaashiinigmiing on Tuesday, the day before the official day for overdose awareness, from 2 p.m. until sunset, at Kina Waa Noojmojig Nanaweing Wellness Pavilion.

Owen Sound will have three events: a community barbecue from noon to 3 p.m. at Safe ‘n Sound drop-in centre, a barbecue and sacred fire from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at M’Wikwedong Indigenous Friendship Centre, and a candlelit vigil from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Owen Sound Farmers’ Market parking lot.

Also Aug. 31, a candlelit vigil will take in Port Elgin at Coulter Parkette, and a candlelit vigil with speakers will take place in Hanover’s Hope Community Church from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., to which people are asked to bring a blanket or lawn chair.

“These events are a chance to stimulate discussion about substance use prevention, overdose prevention, available supports and evidence-based drug policies and reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths,” Cook said in a news release. “It’s also a time for the community to mourn, in a safe environment, and remember the loved ones who have been lost.”

Advertisement 1


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Posted on

Contributions of event rates, pre-hospital deaths, and deaths following hospitalisation to variations in myocardial infarction mortality in 326 districts in England: a spatial analysis of linked hospitalisation and mortality data

Contributions of event rates, pre-hospital deaths, and deaths following hospitalisation to variations in myocardial infarction mortality in 326 districts in England: a spatial analysis of linked hospitalisation and mortality data



Myocardial infarction mortality varies substantially within high-income countries. There is limited guidance on what interventions—including primary and secondary prevention, or improvement of care pathways and quality—can reduce myocardial infarction mortality. Our aim was to understand the contributions of incidence (event rate), pre-hospital deaths, and hospital case fatality to the variations in myocardial infarction mortality within England.


We used linked data from national databases on hospitalisations and deaths with acute myocardial infarction (ICD-10 codes I21 and I22) as a primary hospital diagnosis or underlying cause of death, from Jan 1, 2015, to Dec 31, 2018. We used geographical identifiers to estimate myocardial infarction event rate (number of events per 100 000 population), death rate (number of deaths per 100 000 population), total case fatality (proportion of events that resulted in death), pre-hospital fatality (proportion of events that resulted in pre-hospital death), and hospital case fatality (proportion of admissions due to myocardial infarction that resulted in death within 28 days of admission) for men and women aged 45 years and older across 326 districts in England. Data were analysed in a Bayesian spatial model that accounted for similarities and differences in spatial patterns of fatal and non-fatal myocardial infarction. Age-standardised rates were calculated by weighting age-specific rates by the corresponding national share of the appropriate denominator for each measure.


From 2015 to 2018, national age-standardised death rates were 63 per 100 000 population in women and 126 per 100 000 in men, and event rates were 233 per 100 000 in women and 512 per 100 000 in men. After age-standardisation, 15·0% of events in women and 16·9% in men resulted in death before hospitalisation, and hospital case fatality was 10·8% in women and 10·6% in men. Across districts, the 99th-to-1st percentile ratio of age-standardised myocardial infarction death rates was 2·63 (95% credible interval 2·45–2·83) in women and 2·56 (2·37–2·76) in men, with death rates highest in parts of northern England. The main contributor to this variation was myocardial infarction event rate, with a 99th-to-1st percentile ratio of 2·55 (2·39–2·72) in women and 2·17 (2·08–2·27) in men across districts. Pre-hospital fatality was greater than hospital case fatality in every district. Pre-hospital fatality had a 99th-to-1st percentile ratio of 1·60 (1·50–1·70) in women and 1·75 (1·66–1·86) in men across districts, and made a greater contribution to variation in total case fatality than did hospital case fatality (99th-to-1st percentile ratio 1·39 [1·29–1·49] and 1·49 [1·39–1·60]). The contribution of case fatality to variation in deaths across districts was largest in women aged 55–64 and 65–74 years and in men aged 55–64, 65–74, and 75–84 years. Pre-hospital fatality was slightly higher in men than in women in most districts and age groups, whereas hospital case fatality was higher in women in virtually all districts at ages up to and including 65–74 years.


Most of the variation in myocardial infarction mortality in England is due to variation in myocardial infarction event rate, with a smaller role for case fatality. Most variation in case fatality occurs before rather than after hospital admission. Reducing subnational variations in myocardial infarction mortality requires interventions that reduce event rate and pre-hospital deaths.


Wellcome Trust, British Heart Foundation, Medical Research Council (UK Research and Innovation), and National Institute for Health Research (UK).


Mortality from ischaemic heart disease has declined substantially in high-income countries, driven by both a decline in incidence and improved survival of myocardial infarction—the acute presentation of ischaemic heart disease which has the potential to be rapidly fatal in the absence of appropriate interventions.

  • Grey C
  • Jackson R
  • Schmidt M
  • et al.
One in four major ischaemic heart disease events are fatal and 60% are pre-hospital deaths: a national data-linkage study (ANZACS-QI 8).