Fentanyl overdoses kill at least five people in Canada’s biggest city

Two people overdosed in Toronto’s west end Wednesday evening, according to police. The deaths marked at least the fourth and fifth fentanyl-related drug overdoses in the Toronto area in the last two weeks.

In the latest incident, police issued a warning to the public Thursday after two people overdosed at a restaurant, according to NewsChopper 905, a satellite channel operated by CTV. The city currently has the highest rate of fentanyl-related deaths in Canada’s largest city. The second incident occurred in the suburb of Etobicoke.

The toll is “devastating,” Peter Brent, president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, told CNN last week. The city’s overdose rate has reached a “staggering” 8.6 deaths per 100,000 people, a rate 10 times higher than the national average.

“Fentanyl is no longer a street drug for street dealers,” Brent said. “Most of the fentanyl we’re finding is being manufactured within China and India and being sold as a ‘street drug’ in Canada.”

The Toronto Sun reports Toronto police responded to a call to the Kingsville Golf and Country Club Wednesday about a person who had overdosed on a cocktail of drugs.

Police said the kitchen staff washed hands and gave the victim IV fluids before paramedics arrived, to treat her symptoms, according to the newspaper. The unidentified woman was hospitalized, where she died, the Sun reports.

Police are investigating whether the deaths were related, and they have not officially ruled out using other illicit substances in addition to fentanyl, the newspaper reports.

The spike in fentanyl deaths in Toronto stems from a case involving two men who overdosed in a gym earlier this month.

During their recovery, both men tested positive for fentanyl. Both died soon after, raising questions about the risks of ingesting the drug. The Daily Mail notes, however, that the first man died of a heart attack before the test results came back positive.

Police in New York also warned people about fentanyl. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo cited a state database that tracks suspected drug deaths showing a significant jump in fentanyl-related deaths.

“Our emergency responders are trained to quickly perform lifesaving first aid but we cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that fentanyl is killing and injuring innocent people in this state each and every day,” Cuomo said, in a statement.

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