Belleville police tell residents to avoid going out amid overdose spike
Police tell residents not to go downtown unless it’s absolutely necessary due to 13 overdoses within one hour.

Mike Campbell

February 6, 2024

Police in the small Ontario town of Belleville issued a public warning on Tuesday urging residents to avoid the downtown core following a surge in drug overdoses. 

Belleville police tell residents to avoid going out amid overdose spike

The police statement advises against unnecessary travel downtown due to thirteen overdose incidents reported in just one hour.

“The Belleville Police Service is advising the public to exercise caution and avoid unnecessary travel to the downtown core area following reports of a significant number of overdoses,” the statement read. 

“At this time, it is imperative that residents and visitors alike exercise caution and refrain from engaging in activities that may put themselves or others at risk,” it continued.

The statement further gave drug users advice: “If you use drugs, do not use them while alone, refrain from mixing drugs, try a small amount first to reduce the risk of drug poisoning and always have at least one naloxone kit nearby.”

Liberals acknowledge overdose crisis


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Headline: Belleville Police Issue Overdose Alert, Caution Against Downtown Visits

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In Belleville, a quaint town nestled in Ontario, the local police force has sounded an alarm. On Tuesday, they implored the community to steer clear of the downtown area. This urgent appeal comes in the wake of an alarming spike in drug overdoses.

A flurry of thirteen overdose cases within a mere hour prompted the Belleville Police to discourage any non-essential trips to the downtown vicinity. “The Belleville Police Service is advising the public to exercise caution and avoid unnecessary travel to the downtown core area following reports of a significant number of overdoses,” detailed the police in their communiqué.

The advisory didn’t stop there. It pressed on, emphasizing the importance of vigilance. “At this time, it is imperative that residents and visitors alike exercise caution and refrain from engaging in activities that may put themselves or others at risk,” the police added, underscoring the gravity of the situation.

For those battling addiction, the police offered a lifeline of advice: avoid solitary drug use, eschew mixing substances, test a small quantity first for safety, and ensure a naloxone kit is within reach, a crucial tool in combating drug poisoning’s lethal embrace.

Liberal Government Faces Overdose Epidemic

The crisis of overdoses extends beyond Belleville, drawing attention from the highest echelons of Canada’s government. Ya’ara Saks, the Liberal Minister of Mental Health and Additions, conceded in November that despite the rollout of safe supply pilot programs aimed at curbing the opioid crisis, death tolls remain distressingly high.

“Despite the COVID pandemic being long over, opioid-related deaths remain elevated,” Saks said, addressing an order paper question. Her admission comes amid criticism of the government’s strategies and the effectiveness of its safe supply programs, initiated in 2020 as opioid fatalities soared.

These programs, designed to offer medically-prescribed alternatives to street drugs, have yet to make a dent in the statistics. Opioid-related fatalities have surged from 2,831 in 2016 to a staggering 7,483 in 2022, highlighting a persistent and escalating crisis.

YEAROpioid-related deaths in Canada
20162,831
20173,925
20184,219
20193,716
20206,421
20218,015
20227,483
2023 (Q1)1,904
Source: Government of Canada Opioid- and Stimulant-related Harms — Canada.ca

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