RENFREW COUNTY – The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) believe fentanyl may be the leading cause of six overdoses in Renfrew County over the last few months.

“The OPP is urging the public to consider the potentially-lethal consequences of opioid use,” OPP media relations officer Const. Bill Dickson released in a statement today (Nov. 6). “OPP detachments in Renfrew County have investigated six suspected drug overdose deaths in the last few months.”

The OPP is looking into any potential links between some of these incidents, but these cases highlight the fact the misuse and abuse of controlled substances is dangerous and potentially deadly. As a law enforcement organization, the OPP’s role is to investigate opioid-related incidents with an acute focus on the apprehension of those who produce, import and traffic illegal drugs.

“Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid pain reliever that is similar to morphine, but is estimated to be 50 to 100 times stronger,” Dickson said. “Carfentanil is a toxic synthetic opioid that is not intended for human consumption. Both of these opioids may become mixed into street drugs, resulting in serious health issues including death, even in small quantities.

If you suspect someone is overdosing or is in need of medical attention, immediately call 911 and stay with the victim.

“At the centre of the OPP’s response to the opioid crisis is the spirit of the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act which is intended to save lives,” Dickson said. “It applies to anyone seeking emergency support during an overdose, including the person experiencing an overdose.”

The act protects the person who seeks help, whether they stay or leave from the overdose scene before the arrival of first responders. The act also protects anyone else who may be at the scene when help arrives.

“Those looking for support may contact their primary health care provider, the Renfrew County and District Health UnitThe Centre for Addiction and Mental Health or Addiction & Mental Health Ontario,” Dickson said. “If anyone has information surrounding these overdose incidents, please contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122. Should you wish to remain anonymous you may contact Renfrew County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.valleytips.ca.”