DURHAM: Durham Region Health Department has launched its new Durham Region Opioid Information System (DROIS) to provide the public and health care providers with local, up-to-date information on the latest opioid overdose-related statistics. DROIS is available online at durham.ca/opioidstats or durham.ca/opioids.

DROIS was created as one of the priorities of Durham Region’s Opioid Response Plan, as well as a requirement of the Ontario Ministry of Health’s (formerly known as the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care) Harm Reduction Program Enhancement mandate. This mandate requires public health units to develop a system that can be used to identify and respond to opioid-related overdoses within their jurisdictions.

DROIS provides timely information on opioid overdose-related statistics including, Region of Durham Paramedic Services (RDPS) call numbers, emergency department (ED) visits and opioid-related deaths within Durham Region. The call numbers for RDPS suspected overdoses are updated online weekly, ED visits are updated monthly, and opioid-related deaths are updated quarterly.

“With DROIS, we can provide timely and localized updates to help the public, health care professionals and community organizations become aware of how the opioid issue is affecting Durham Region,” said Chris Arnott, a public health nurse with the Health Department. “With this knowledge, we can better prioritize our resources and supports with the goal of decreasing opioid-related overdoses and deaths.”

According to DROIS, between Jan. 1 and July 13, RDPS received 353 calls related to suspected opioid overdoses, which is higher than the 202 calls received for the same period in 2018. Between 2013 and 2017, the rate of ED visits in Durham Region more than doubled to 57 visits per 100,000 people. Preliminary data also shows that there were approximately 58 opioid-related deaths in Durham Region in 2018, which is more than triple the number recorded for 2013.

For more information about DROIS, visit durham.ca/opioidstats or call Durham Health Connection Line at 905-666-6241 or 1-800-841-2729.

Photo courtesy of CNN.