Woman charged with manslaughter after opioid death in Niagara

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Published April 17, 2023 at 9:40 pm

A woman has been charged with manslaughter in connection to an opioid death in Niagara Region.

According to Niagara Regional Police, their officers responded to a call on Nov. 26, 2022. Upon arrival at a Grimsby family home, the officers found a 27-year-old woman dead of an apparent opioid overdose.

The Opioid Enforcement Unit launched an investigation into the woman’s death with assistance from 8 District Criminal Investigation Branch and the Homicide Unit. They later learned the woman had died of protonitazene toxicity.

Protonitazene is classified as a non-fentanyl synthetic opioid by Public Health Ontario which found it has been infiltrating the illicit drug market since 2019. Public Health Ontario said the risk of a severe overdose using nitazene is moderate to high and may require additional uses of naloxone to counteract compared to other opioids.

Nitazene family drugs are frequently more potent than fentanyl and have been found to be ten time more potent than morphine. Much of the study of the effect of nitazenes has been cut short due to the danger to subjects.

On Apr. 17, 2023, police arrested Sophie Ward, 27 of Grimsby on charges of trafficking a drug held to be Oxycontin and manslaughter. She has been held in custody until a court date on Apr. 18.

Anyone with information pertinent to the investigation can call police at 905-688-4111, option 3, ext. 1009476.

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