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Public Health Department statement on intoxication risks in Eeyou Istchee

August 15, 2017
Chisasibi Mothers Against Drugs and Alcohol, August 2016

August 10 update from the Regional Department of Public Health.

The Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay (CBHSSJB) wishes to provide some important information concerning incidents linked to substance intoxication in many of our communities over the last several weeks.

- Drug intoxication is an important issue across Canada with a rise in recent years of overdose-related deaths due to excess drug consumption as well as contaminated drugs.

- We are following up the situation closely to better understand whether recent cases were drug related, try to understand the drugs that were involved, and try to assess whether these drugs were contaminated. The CBHSSJB and its Public Health Department is working closely with The Community Miyupimaatisiiun Centres (clinics), Chisasibi regional hospital, and other health care partners in order to monitor the situation in the coming weeks.

- We have 2 main updates since the last communication was issued (August 7):

UPDATE 1: From the preliminary information we have gathered so far, intoxications predominately occur among youth ages 15-29 years. In some cases, there appears to be young people who are using too much alcohol and other drugs such as amphetamines and cocaine, and using large quantities of these substances over several days.

UPDATE 2: Our investigations to date have not found evidence of intoxications caused by contaminated drugs. However, we are not aware of any street drugs from our region being analyzed. And, there is always a risk that any street drug might be contaminated with other unknown substances. If you have any drugs available that can be tested for possible contamination, please bring them to the local clinic, arrange to talk to a health worker in a private room.

- We do know that substances such as alcohol, cocaine, speed, and cannabis are in our communities and that intoxications may occur when these substances are misused and/or mixed together.

- If you feel sick after the use of any substances, you need to stop using it and you should make your way to your local community emergency health services for immediate assistance. Be honest about what you have recently consumed so that the nurses and doctors can provide you with the most effective treatments.

- BE ALERT: excessive sleepiness, becoming unconscious, trouble breathing, slow shallow breathing, cool clammy skin, not responding to pain are reasons to urgently consult medical services

- If you, or someone you know, are using alcohol and/or drugs excessively, or struggling to quit, there is hope to make positive changes in your life. There are services available in your local CMCs and we encourage you consult and talk about it.

- We recommend that community members reduce the amount that they consume or refrain from consuming drugs at all. However, if you do consume drugs, keep in mind the following points to take care of yourself and friends:

  • Don’t use alone. Make a plan and tell a buddy who can call for help, if needed
  • Know your tolerance. If you are sick or had a time of abstinence or reduced use, use much less
  • Don’t mix drugs
  • Don’t mix drugs with alcohol
  • Test a small amount first and go slow
  • Call emergency services right away, if someone overdoses

- Yaakuuamiik

For more information contact: Josée Quesnel, Mistissini