Health officials intervene as Hay River grapples with 'alarming' surge in drug poisoning deaths


There were six deaths related to opioids last year in the N.W.T. — double the year prior and all of which were in Hay River. 

Now health authorities are zeroing in on the community as it deals with this “alarming” surge in deaths connected to drug poisoning.

Dr. Kami Kandola, the territory’s chief public health officer, said in a news briefing Tuesday that based on preliminary evidence, five of the deaths last year were directly related to either fentanyl or carfentanil. 

“Individuals consuming illicit drugs, who are unaware of their presence, is a serious public health issue,” Kandola said.

All six people died alone, she said, and none of them had naloxone at hand. 

Hay River, with a population

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