(Montréal) Every month, more than a thousand Quebeckers find themselves in the emergency room for intoxication with any type of drug and many of them do not even have the chance to be rescued or treated. In order to make the public and consumers aware of the risks of overdoses, several community organizations are meeting on Saturday afternoon at Parc Émilie-Gamelin in Montreal as part of the International Day for Overdose Awareness.
The event is scheduled to begin around 1:00 pm with music, information booths and creative workshops. A "racket to wake the dead" will take place at 2:30 pm Speeches, testimonials and artistic performances are planned in the late afternoon, then a meal BBQ and corn will be served to participants to close the rally that must end around 19 hours.
Organizers will also take the opportunity to commemorate the deaths of too many overdose victims in recent months. The CACTUS Montréal organization will also highlight its 30 years of existence. In 1989, the organization dedicated to the prevention of sexually transmitted and blood borne infections (STBBI) launched the first needle exchange program in North America.
The other groups that contribute to the organization of the day include the Quebec Association for the Promotion of Drug Users' Health (AQPSUD) and the Alternative Intervention Peer Group (GIAP).
According to data from the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec, 119 people lost their lives because of an overdose related to any type of drug during the first three months of the year. This is up sharply from the first quarter of 2018, when 82 people lost their lives in the same circumstances.
With regard to emergency department visits for opioid poisoning, the month of March 2019 was the worst since September 2017 with 98 admissions recorded.
More broadly, intoxications to all forms of drugs, including opioids, psychotropic substances and unspecified substances, March 2019 seemed to announce a return to the rise coinciding with the arrival of spring as we have seen in previous years . A total of 1073 intoxications were compiled, which is about the same number as in March 2018 and slightly less than in March 2017.