Preventing Opioid-Related Overdoses
Opioids are drugs that include prescribed pain relievers, like codeine or morphine, as well as illegal drugs, like heroin. Patients can benefit from opioids that are prescribed and used properly. When opioids are misused, they can be deadly.
Unknowingly, potent opioids like fentanyl may be put in illegally produced pills that look like prescription medications, including Percocet, Oxycontin and Xanax. None of these commercially produced formulations contain fentanyl.
In Canada, opioid use and overdose deaths are on the rise.
Drug overdose deaths are preventable.
The provincial government has developed an action plan to prevent and mitigate unintentional opioid overdoses and deaths among youth and adults in Prince Edward Island.
Reduce your risk
What are situations that can put me at risk of an opioid-related overdose?
- mixing substances including alcohol and prescription drugs
- recreational or one time use
- changes in prescription
- using after period of reduced or no drug use
How can I reduce my risk of overdose?
- Don't use alone
- know your tolerance (that is, how much you can take)
- have a Naloxone kit with you, and know how to use it
- start with a small amount to check the strength
- do not take opioids with alcohol or other drugs (unless prescribed by your doctor)
Naloxone kits are available for free to people who are at high risk of opioid-related overdoses.
- Needle Exchange Program – free kits for clients
- Provincial Addictions Treatment Facility – free kits for clients
Hospitals, emergency departments, provincial correctional facilities, opioid replacement clinics, EMS and police are all equipped with Naloxone.
Anyone can purchase a naloxone kit without a prescription (cost is approximately $50) at most PEI pharmacies.
Treatment for Opioid Addiction and Misuse
Where can I get treatment?
If you are addicted to opioid drugs, treatment and supports are available to help you recover. To learn more, visit Opioid Replacement Therapy Program.
What other services are available to people who use drugs?
The Needle Exchange Program provides confidential services including clean needles and other supplies, immunization, testing, wound care, education, and referrals.
Opioid-Related Overdoses and Deaths in PEI
Opioid-related overdose and death surveillance reports are posted here on a quarterly schedule. This information helps to inform program planning and to identify sudden increases in overdoses or deaths.
All overdose cases reported below involved mixed toxicology (i.e. one or more opioids combined with one or more non-opioid substances, such as alcohol).
All deaths reported below involved mixed toxicology (i.e. one or more opioids, plus one or more non-opioid substances).
Number of accidental opioid-related overdoses in PEI1
Number of accidental apparent opioid-related deaths in PEI2
|October to December, 2017||<55||not yet available4|
|July to September, 2017||<55||not yet available4|
April to June, 2017
|January to March, 2017||not available||<55|
1 Accidental/unintentional overdoses involving opioids does not include overdoses that occurred as a result of intentional self-inflicted harm.
2 Accidental/unintentional deaths involving opioids does not include deaths that occurred as a result of intentional self-inflicted harm; only closed (certified) cases are reported.
3 Surveillance by the Chief Public Health Office of toxicological cases presenting to PEI’s emergency departments began in May 2017.
4 Due to the length of time required for death investigations, accidental apparent opioid-related deaths are reported with a minimum 3-month lag.
5 To protect the privacy of individuals, case counts of less than 5 are suppressed.