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Health Unit warning residents about “toxic” illicit drugs

An increase in emergency room visits caused by poisoned drugs has the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit warning users to be careful. 

According to the organization, there have been 21 emergency room visits for drug poisoning over the last two weeks in our region, more than double the normal rate. 

Staff also say a substance called Xylazine has started to appear in unregulated drugs. 

“Xylazine can cause deep sedation, slow down breathing and heart rate, lower blood pressure, increase blood sugars, constrict pupils and cause extreme feelings of tiredness and fatigue,” explains Communications Coordinator Susan Healey. 

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When mixed with opioids, like fentanyl, or benzodiazepines, like alprazolam, staff say Xylazine significantly increases the risk for fatal drug poisonings. 

It also doesn’t respond to naloxone, a medication that can reverse the effects of opioid overdose. 

Staff say you should still carry a naloxone kit and take other safety precautions, like never using drugs alone and starting with a small test dose to make sure what you have is safe. 

They also say you should call 911 immediately in the event of an overdose. 

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