Peterborough Public Health Issues Drug-Poisoning Alert

Written by Comms Team, June 1, 2023

Residents Urged to Carry Naloxone and Recognize the Signs of a Drug-Poisoning 

Today, Peterborough Public Health issued a warning following an increase in suspected drug-poisonings.  

On Thursday, June 1, Peterborough Public Health detected a high number of drug-poisonings that occurred yesterday in Peterborough City/County. Poisonings were responded to by 911 first responders, emergency department staff, and service providers in the community. These reports have prompted Peterborough Public Health to issue a public warning in the hope of preventing further harms to the community. 

At this time, we are unable to link one specific substance as the cause of the poisonings. Therefore, all community members are asked to be careful when using drugs. Peterborough Public Health is reminding everyone that street drugs may be cut or mixed with toxic substances. Beware that using even a small amount of a drug can be fatal.  

A drug-poisoning may look different from one person to the next and depending on the drugs involved. A drug-poisoning is a medical emergency. Always call 9-1-1. 

Common signs of a drug-poisoning include:  

  • Breathing is very slow, or irregular, or they may not be breathing at all  
  • Body is limp 
  • Fingernails and/or lips are blue  
  • Deep snoring or gurgling sounds 
  • Loss of consciousness/passed out  
  • Skin feels cold and clammy  
  • Pupils are very small  

Dr. Thomas Piggott, Medical Officer of Health adds, “Often, a drug poisoning may look like someone is sleeping, and it can be uncomfortable to decide to disturb someone’s sleep. However, checking in on a community member could save their life. We encourage folks to ask community members if they are okay and if assistance is needed.” 

If you suspect a drug-poisoning, what should you do? 

Follow the SAVE ME steps to respond. 

Stimulate: Check if the person is responsive, can you wake them up? Shake at shoulders and shout their name. If they are unresponsive, call 9-1-1 

Know that you are protected by the Good Samaritan Act, which protects you from drug possession charges if you experience or witness a drug-poisoning and call emergency services.  

Airway: Make sure there is nothing in the mouth blocking the airway or stopping the person from breathing. Remove anything that is blocking the airway.  

Ventilate: Help them breathe. Plug the nose, tilt the head back and give one breath every 5 seconds.  

Evaluate: Do you see any improvement? Are they breathing on their own? If not, prepare to give naloxone.  

Medication. Carry multiple kits of naloxone and keep them visible. Learn more about naloxone and how to safely administer it.  

Evaluate and support. It’s important to stay with the person until they have woken up or emergency services have arrived. If you need to leave the person alone for any reason, place them into the recovery position before you leave to keep the airway clear and prevent choking. To place somebody in the recovery position:  

  • Turn them onto their side  
  • Place their bottom hand under their head for support  
  • Place their top leg at a 90-degree angle to the body, with the top knee touching the ground to prevent the person from rolling onto their stomach 

Residents can anonymously report drug poisonings and other bad drug reactions using the ‘Drug Reporting Tool’. Any information shared through the tool supports Peterborough Public Health and community partners in responding to and preventing drug poisonings in the Peterborough area. The Drug Reporting Tool can be accessed by clicking here. 

For more information, or to find out how to access naloxone, please visit and search for “Opioids” or click here.   


For further information, please contact:  

Media Relations