Recent numbers published by the Sudbury health unit show that the opioid overdose problem had improved slightly a year ago, but have proved deadly throughout most of 2022.
This is based on data provided by Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) and the Community Drug Strategy through its Opioid Surveillance program.
Preliminary data from PHSD showed that from January through to the end of November last year (2022) there were 97 residents of Sudbury and Manitoulin districts who died from an overdose. For the same period the previous year (2021), there were 91 overdose deaths locally, said the surveillance report.
These numbers are just for January to November 2022. The final death count could be higher once the final numbers are provided by PHSD.
The numbers translate into a local annualized mortality rate of 51.1 deaths per 100,000 population per year. PHSD reported this number is "significantly higher" than the comparable rate for all of Ontario, which is only 16 deaths per 100,000 population per year.
In a news story Sudbury.com reported one year ago, there had been a slight drop in the number of overdose deaths.
It is not all bad news in the new numbers, though.
The updated surveillance information shows a gradual improvement during 2022 for local emergency department visits for treating overdose patients.
Throughout 2022, PHSD reported there were 439 visits to emergency departments in the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts for confirmed opioid overdoses. This is a marked improvement over the number of emergency room visits recorded in the previous year (2021), which was 636. This was a decrease of roughly 31 per cent.
While the numbers were significant locally, the same numbers show Sudbury and Manitoulin districts as significantly high when compared to the overall provincial rate by comparison.
The 439 overdose visits last year (2022) represented a local annualized rate of 211.9 visits per 100K population per year. This compares with the overall rate in Ontario of 76.1 visits per 100K population.
Using those same comparisons for the previous year (2021) the 636 emergency room visits represented a local annual rate of 309.5 visits per 100K population per year, which was significantly higher than the comparable rate in Ontario overall, 115.4 visits per 100K population.
Len Gillis covers health care and mining for Sudbury.com.