Map of Simcoe Muskoka

Alcohol & Drugs

Opioid Deaths

Monthly Surveillance
Trend over Time
By Geographic Area
By Type of Drug
By Age and Sex

Monthly Surveillance

Preliminary data shows that there were 44 confirmed and probable opioid-related deaths in Simcoe Muskoka for the first five months of 2020, which was higher than the average of 30 deaths from January to May for the previous three years. There were 28 opioid-related deaths in the three months prior to the start of the pandemic in March, 2020 and 26 deaths in the three months that followed. These data are considered preliminary and subject to change. This is different from the pattern observed across Ontario, where the number of opioid deaths have increased since the start of the pandemic. From March to May of 2020 there were 592 confirmed and probable opioid deaths in Ontario, which was 36% higher than the 435 deaths in the three months prior to the start of the pandemic. The 219 confirmed and probable opioid deaths in Ontario in May of 2020 were the highest number of deaths recorded in any month since the start of the opioid crisis in 2017. The 425 confirmed and probable opioid deaths in Ontario in April and May of 2020 is 80% higher than the two-month average for the previous three years.

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Trend over Time

In 2019, there were 87 opioid poisoning deaths in Simcoe Muskoka for a crude rate of 14.6 (11.7, 18.1) deaths per 100,000, which was significantly higher than the comparable provincial rate of 10.4 (9.9, 11.0) deaths per 100,000. The rate of opioid poisoning deaths in Simcoe Muskoka has been significantly higher than the provincial rates over the past six years (2014 to 2019 combined). There has been a significant increasing trend in opioid poisoning deaths both in Simcoe Muskoka and across all of Ontario since 2005; however, there was a substantial spike in deaths in 2017 relative to previous years, both locally and provincially. The Simcoe Muskoka rate has not changed significantly over the past three years (from 2017 to 2019).

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By Geographic Area

Between 2017 and 2019, the crude rate of opioid-related deaths varied across Simcoe Muskoka. Muskoka and the Barrie and Orillia areas all had opioid mortality rates significantly higher than the comparable provincial average. The opioid morality rate in South Simcoe was significantly lower than the overall provincial average and was less than half the rate for Simcoe Muskoka as a whole.

Huntsville, Bracebridge and Gravenhurst accounted for 84% of all opioid deaths in Muskoka over these three years; however, this was expected as these three municipalities make up 79% of the population of Muskoka. Over this same three-year time period, Barrie accounted for 45% of all opioid deaths in Simcoe County, while having 28% of the population. Orillia also had a disproportionate number of opioid deaths relative to its population size, accounting for 15% of opioid deaths in Simcoe County and 6% of the population. This summary table provides the full breakdown of opioid deaths by Municipalities in Simcoe Muskoka from January, 2017 through to May, 2020.

OpioidDeathbyGeography

By Type of Drug

In 2019, there were 87 opioid poisoning deaths among Simcoe Muskoka residents, including 66 that were related to fentanyl. This means that three-quarters of all opioid poisoning deaths in Simcoe Muskoka in 2019 involved fentanyl. This was 50% higher than the 43 fentanyl-related deaths in 2018 and was the highest number of fentanyl-related ever in one year in Simcoe Muskoka. There were also 16 carfentanil-related deaths in 2019, which was also the highest number recorded in Simcoe Muskoka in one-year; however, 13 of these deaths occurred in a three-month period from April to June. This increase coincided with a known spike in carfentanil deaths across the province.

Also in 2019, 14 or one-in-six opioid poisoning deaths in Simcoe Muskoka involved heroin. The number of heroin-related deaths in Simcoe Muskoka in 2019 was higher than the 8 deaths in 2018 but lower than the 20 deaths in 2017.

The per cent of opioid deaths related to oxycodone has decline significantly since 2009-2012 when this drug was involved in nearly half of all opioid deaths. In 2019, 12 or one-in-seven opioid poisoning deaths in Simcoe Muskoka involved oxycodone. The per cent of opioid deaths involving morphine has also decreased significantly in recent years. Between 2005 and 2008, one-in-three opioid deaths in Simcoe Muskoka involved morphine; however, in 2019 only one-in-ten deaths involved morphine.

Please note that deaths may occur from a single opioid or from more than one opioid in combination. Therefore, the per cent of deaths by the specific opioids for a given time period may add to more than 100 per cent.

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By Age and Sex

Opioid poisoning deaths in Simcoe Muskoka are highest among adult males between 25 and 64 years of age. From 2017 and 2019 (combined), there were 84 opioid poisoning deaths among adult males between the age of 25 and 44 years for a rate of 39.8 (31.7, 49.2) deaths per 100,000 and 68 deaths among males 45 to 64 years for a rate of 26.9 (20.9, 34.1) deaths per 100,000. These rates were more than double the comparable female age-specific opioid-related deaths rates.

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The deaths data come from the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario.

Page last updated September 21, 2020