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 as many people who use drugs and their social support networks experience many barriers to calling 911 after overdose. Naloxone administrations by Paramedic Services is also tracked and reported. Overdose/drug poisoning related deaths are also tracked from a variety of data sources including Waterloo Region Police Service and the Office of the Provincial Coroner. These data sources can be viewed on the Overdose Monitoring Dashboard (Waterloo Region) and Suspect Drug-Related and Drug Toxicity Deaths in Ontario (Ontario Office of the Chief Coroner Data).

Please note that the data sets can be viewed by changing the option under the dashboard title above the graphs.

Ontario-Wide Data

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 Office of the Chief Coroner (OCC) for Ontario provides death investigations and inquests to ensure that no death will be overlooked, concealed or ignored. This includes updated summaries of suspect-drug related deaths by public health unit (PHU) region and provincially to provide an early signal of potential trends in suspect drug-related deaths and preliminary data on opioid-related deaths at provincial and public health unit levels.

Access Office of the Chief Coroner (OCC) data.

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 thresholds, including:

  • Substances of concern (ex.high potency, atypical/adverse reaction) found the local drug supply
  • Evidence of alarming trends in local substance use (ex. elevated calls for emergency medical services, elevated number of overdose deaths)
  • Results from the Drug Checking Program operated by Sanguen Health Center (as available)
  • Information sharing from community agencies who serve as partners on the OMARS committee

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

About the OMARS Committee

The OMARS committee is a community partnership involving a range of community partners who provide timely information on overdose events or trends as witnessed by their agency. Current partners include but are not limited to: Region of Waterloo Public Health, Sanguen Health Centre, The Working Centre/St. John’s Kitchen, CMHA, Waterloo Regional Police Services, and Region of Waterloo Paramedic Services.

Overdose Trends (historic reports)

The following are historical reports of quarterly overdose trends. Current data should be accessed using the Overdose Monitoring Dashboard.

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. 

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