Bradford has the second highest rate of hospitalization due to opiate poisoning in Canada, according to researchers from the Canadian Institute for Health Information.
Local officials do not question the results of the Institute's report, but state that they are based on data from 2017, which largely precede the impact of the drug harm reduction strategy. They say that great progress has been made in reducing the number of deaths, emergency room visits and hospitalizations due to opiate poisoning in the past year.
Fentanyl – a highly potent and addictive opioid – receives much of the blame for overdose. Fentanyl is usually mixed with opioids sold on the street, which means that consumers do not know the power of the medication they are taking.
"I think it is important to remember that when we, as a community, saw fentanyl that sneaks into our community, we have taken a number of initiatives," said Dr. Malcolm Locke, medical director of healthcare at Brant County, after the publication of the national report,
"As a result of these efforts, our statistics – the number of deaths, emergency visits and hospitalizations – are decreasing, we have made much progress and we hope to see even more improvements as we move forward."
The Metropolitan Census of the City, which includes Brantford, Brant and Six Nations, has 41.2 hospitalizations for every 100,000, the study said.
Only Kelowna, B.C., with 52.8, has a higher speed.
A September 2017 report from the institute states that Brantford, Brant and some of the six nations were at the top of the provincial list for emergency department visits due to opioid poisoning.
The efforts of the community to fight the opioid crisis began in March 2017 with a "Fantasy can kill" campaign, led by the head of the police in Bransford Jeff Nelson. This was followed in November 2017 with the introduction of a drug-harm reduction strategy across the community.
The strategy includes several components, including educational programs, treatment programs and other harm reduction initiatives.
Although all elements of the drug strategy are important, Lock noted that he believed that increased availability of free naloxone kits was a major factor in reducing hospital visits and opioid overdose deaths. Naloxone is a medicine that can be used to reverse the effects of opioid overdose.
"The availability of naloxone more affordable has made a huge difference," Locke said, noting that the first respondents to the community were equipped with naloxone kits. The kits are also available at San Leonard's service venues and local pharmacies.
– For me, this is one of the biggest factors.
Brad Stark, executive director of St. Leonard, said opening a center for drug addiction in the city center was an important step in the fight against the opioid crisis.
"It starts in late September and reaches people with complex problems with the use of substances, including those using opiates that have not been backed up before," Stark said.
The clinic provides easier access for patients seeking treatment for any substance abuse or addiction. Patients do not need a meeting and are on a walk.
The clinic, located on 347 Colborne Street, near the Grand River Health Center, includes a specialized addictions specialist, addiction counselor, case manager, mental health insurer, and mental health counselor.
Several organizations, including San Leonard, the Barents Community for Health, the Canadian Association for Mental Health of Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk and the Aboriginal Health Center are part of the clinic.
The Drugs Strategy also includes the development of a juvenile drug training program developed by young people, to be launched in early 2019. Efforts are also being made to develop a campaign against stigma.
"I'm encouraged by more recent statistics that reveal visits to emergency departments, overdoses and opioid deaths declined in our community in 2018 a year ago," said Brantford Mayor Kevin Davis.
"I am convinced that we will continue to see more progress from our collective efforts to combat this crisis, in cooperation with our community agencies and our neighboring municipalities."
At the same time, the high frequency of opiate use, especially fentanyl, drew the attention of the local judiciary.
"We take a particularly weak view of fentanyl, and we will not be light when we condemn drug trafficking," Justice Gethin Edward said earlier this week. "Let the public be alert: both as judges and as members of the community, our decisions will reflect the serious nature of the crimes." "
Edward recently sentenced a woman to Brant County for seven years to sell drugs.
He said the sentence was meant to alert the community about how the judiciary would punish drug dealers.
Brantford interpreter 2018 ©