Ontario city declares state of emergency after rash of drug overdoses


Published February 8, 2024 at 11:23 am

The southeastern Ontario city of Belleville has declared a state of emergency after a rash of overdoses over a 24-hour period that prompted warnings from police this week.

Belleville Mayor Neil Ellis says the declaration on behalf of city council was made because of the growing addiction, mental health and homelessness crisis in the city and its impact on emergency services.

Ellis says municipal services are close to a breaking point and he is calling for support from provincial and federal governments.

Belleville officials have said that emergency crews responded to 17 overdoses in 24 hours earlier this week, including 14 overdoses within a two-hour span on Tuesday afternoon.

That prompted a warning from local police, urging residents to stay away from the downtown core while officers and paramedics dealt with the situation.

Ellis says today’s declaration falls under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, which defines an emergency as a pending or existing situation that could result in serious harm to people or substantial damage to property.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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