Ontario health unit miscounts opioid-linked deaths; total deaths much lower

By The Canadian Press
May 30, 2017 - 1:15pm

WINDSOR, Ont. — A public health official in a southwestern Ontario community says his health agency miscounted the number of opioid-linked deaths in the area for 2015, with the total actually significantly lower than a figure published in a report in March.

Dr. Wajid Ahmed, the associate medical officer of health with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, says there were actually 24 opioid-related deaths in 2015 and not 43, but the rate of deaths remains above the provincial average.

Ahmed says there was a mix up in geography when the public health unit received information from the Ontario coroner's office, leading the health agency to count opioid-linked deaths in the City of Windsor twice.

Despite the change, Ahmed says the general conclusion of the report still stands that Windsor and Essex County has an opioid problem.

That's because the death data is just a portion of the report, which analysed data from emergency department visits, hospitalizations, prescriptions and deaths related to opioids, which include fentanyl, heroin, codeine, hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, and oxycodone.

Ahmed says the report will be republished with the correct results and that no other portions of the report are incorrect.

The Canadian Press

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