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Belleville declares state of emergency after 17 overdose calls in 24 hours

Belleville has declared a state of emergency after a toxic drug supply led to multiple drug poisonings on Tuesday afternoon.

Mayor Neil Ellis stated that due to a growing addiction, mental health, and homelessness crisis and its impact on emergency services, he is now calling on senior-level governments for support. Emergency services in Belleville continue to respond to overdoses and, in many cases, are finding multiple patients at one time. On Tuesday afternoon, the largest number was 9 during one call for service. Overall, 17 overdoses were reported within 24 hours. There were no fatalities.

Bancroft Mayor Paul Jenkins spoke about the crisis:

“It’s a terrible situation, I support Mayor Ellis’s call for additional help from the province and the feds because cities just cannot handle the situation and don’t know what to do.” He added that laced drugs often spread from city to city. “With respect to Bancroft. When these drugs get on the street that is laced like this, they usually start to spread and go from area to area because you know, large supply comes in so. We must be vigilant in our own area here”

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Jenkins also said that to help address the drug crisis municipalities must find a way to find adequate housing for community members. Mayor Ellis agreed. “We, as a city, know that we are at the point where doing our best doesn’t cut it anymore. Our emergency services, the health care system, and municipal resources are being stretched to the very limits and we are close to a breaking point. We need serious action and support from senior-level governments to deal with this crisis and until we begin to see meaningful discussions on how to address the matter, I fear nothing will change. That is why we are calling on the provincial and federal governments for support. I urge our local municipal partners facing the same issues to do the same.”

An Emergency Declaration acts as a request for support from the provincial and federal government and falls under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. The Act defines an emergency as a situation or an impending situation that constitutes a danger of major proportions that could result in serious harm to persons or substantial property damage and that is caused by the forces of nature, a disease or other health risk, an accident or an act whether intentional or otherwise.

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