Opioid addictions and homelessness
In April 2023, Hamilton City Council declared a state of emergency over homelessness, opioid addiction and mental health. The number of Hamiltonians who have died due to opioid overdoses has grown to over 150 deaths per year from an average of 40 per year between 2010 and 2016. This trend has been particularly acute among people experiencing homelessness. A 2023 study found 27 Hamiltonians who were experiencing homelessness had died in the last six months from opioid overdoses.
During the first six months of 2023, Hamilton Paramedic Services responded to 512 incidents related to suspected opioid overdoses. At this pace, Hamilton will experience its highest annual number of calls, with 814 recorded in 2022 and 914 calls in 2021. These annual totals are nearly double the 450 calls that were received in 2017.
Source: City of Hamilton, Opioid Information System.