The opioid crisis in Ontario is a growing and evolving problem. Having accurate data on the impact of opioids helps us understand the extent of the opioid problem and provide timely warnings to those individuals at risk of overdose.

The Overdose Monitoring Alert and Response System (OMARS) provides local and timely information about overdose in Waterloo Region including the following indicators:

  • Overdose-related 911 calls to Paramedic Services, naloxone distribution and administration
  • Overdose deaths (suspected)
  • Opioid related visits to local emergency departments

Waterloo Region Overdose Monitoring Report

Overdose-related 911 calls is a proxy measure that shows the prevalence of overdose incidents locally. It is important to note that 911 is not called for all overdoses and therefore the data may underestimate the true number of overdoses in Waterloo Region. Naloxone administrations by Paramedic Services is also tracked and reported.

Please note that on the Overdose Monitoring Dashboard data sets can be viewed by changing the option under the 'View' menu on the left side of the graph.

Waterloo Regional Police Service Data - Opioid Related Deaths

Opioid-related deaths are monitored by the Waterloo Region Police Service and represent a proxy measure to understand the impact of opioids locally. The number reported reflects suspected deaths as the cause of death has not been confirmed by the Office of the Provincial Coroner. Confirmation of cause of death can take up to 12 months. 

Year Number
2023 46* (updated Oct. 10th 2023)
2022 89** (updated Sep. 6th 2023)
2021 112***
2020 107***
2019 64***
2018 61***
2017 88***

Please note that the number reported reflects data inclusive to the end of the previous month and only includes opioid-related deaths. The total of suspected drug-related deaths may be larger when accounting for all substances beyond only opioid-related data.

*Number includes suspected overdoses as reported by Waterloo Region Police Services. This data should be considered as preliminary and is subject to change. 

**Based on a combination of data of suspected drug-related deaths from the Waterloo Region Police Services and preliminary data of probable cases from the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario and is subject to change as remaining cases are closed by the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario.

***Number includes final data from the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario.

Overdose Trends (long term)

For a three-year look at opioid overdose-related trends see the 'Waterloo Region Opioid Report:Three Year Review (2016-2018)'.

Waterloo Region Overdose Bulletins are issued every quarter and monitor overdose trends over time. Reports provide a summary of 911 calls to paramedic services, data submitted to OMARS by individuals who have experienced an overdose, naloxone distribution data, and overdose-related deaths. 

Overdose Alerts

Overdose Alerts are issued to the public when there is an urgent overdose risk in Waterloo Region. Alerts are issued to local agencies and the public based on various scenarios, including:

  • Confirmation of contamination of the local drug supply
  • Evidence of alarming trends in local substance use

 To receive overdose alerts, please subscribe to the Overdose Newsfeed and visit our Alert page.

Ontario’s Interactive Opioid Tool

Public Health Ontario (PHO) provides long-term trends for opioid-related data on emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths. This is the first tool in Ontario to provide data at the Public Health Unit and Local Health Integration Network levels.

Access Ontario’s Interactive Opioid Tool.


The OMARS committee is a partnership involving Waterloo Regional Police Services, Region of Waterloo Paramedic Services, Region of Waterloo Public Health, Sanguen Health Centre, and The Working Centre/St. John’s Kitchen.

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