Ambulances at St. Joseph's Hospital (Hamilton) in August 2017 Credit: Joey Coleman

Hamilton Public Health is re-convening the Hamilton Drug Strategy Steering Committee as Hamilton is on track to see more opioid-related deaths in 2021 than there were in 2020.

Hamilton Public Health issued a rare public communication update on Friday warning that opioid deaths are increasing this year, with a 55% increase in deaths during the first six months of 2021 compared to the first half of 2020.

Public Health states that from January 1 to November 7, there were 786 emergency 9-1-1 calls for suspected opioid overdose. There were 565 calls in 2022.

“The total paramedic incidents recorded for the month of August 2021 was 109, which is the highest monthly count recorded since 2017,” the update states. “While lower, calls in September (103) and October continue to be high (74).”

The update states Hamilton needs more supervised consumption sites.

More information is available on the public health services’ Hamilton Opioid Information System webpage.