News Release
May 29, 2024

Toronto Public Health (TPH) is releasing preliminary 2023 figures related to opioid toxicity deaths in the city. The drug toxicity crisis intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic with record-breaking opioid toxicity-related deaths in 2020 and 2021.

In 2023, 523 opioid toxicity deaths were reported in Toronto representing a 74 per cent increase from 301 deaths in 2019. Preliminary details provided for 427 deaths (out of 523) that were deemed accidental in 2023 indicated that:

  • Nearly half of the deaths were in individuals aged 25 to 44 years
  • 54 per cent of these individuals resided in a private dwelling
  • 39 per cent were in their homes at the time of their death

The unregulated drug supply is increasingly toxic and contaminated with unexpected and dangerous substances. TPH has issued four alerts this year notifying individuals who use drugs, harm reduction organizations and public health units about toxic drugs in circulation, increases in suspected overdoses and other important information to save lives.

Overdoses and deaths due to the drug toxicity crisis are preventable. Supervised Consumption Services (SCSs) are clinical spaces for people to use their own drugs in the presence of trained health professionals. Evidence shows that SCSs save lives, connect people to social services and are proven pathways to treatment.

Under direction of the Board of Health, TPH has long called for greater access to a full continuum of evidence-based healthcare services including prevention, treatment and harm reduction supports. TPH remains a willing partner to explore collaborative solutions to this urgent public health issue.

There are 10 sites currently providing supervised consumption services in Toronto. More information including locations and hours of operation is available on the City’s Supervised Consumption Services webpage.

Learn more about overdose prevention and response including how to administer naloxone by visiting the City’s Overdose Prevention & Response webpage.


“The increased risks of the toxic unregulated drug supply, coupled with the housing and affordability crisis, pose a serious threat to community health and wellbeing. Treatment is vital. We need the support and participation of all three levels of government to significantly reduce the devastating impact of the drug toxicity epidemic in Toronto and across Ontario.”

–Mayor Olivia Chow

“Every life lost to this crisis is not only tragic but also preventable. Increasing funding and access to a wide array of treatment options, including opening a 24/7 stabilization crisis centre, is essential to tackling the drug toxicity epidemic. The coordinated efforts of municipal, provincial and federal governments are critical to addressing the crisis impacting not only Toronto but Canadians right across the country. This situation demands an immediate and collective call to action for all of us.”
– Councillor Chris Moise (Toronto Centre), Chair, Toronto Board of Health

“The continued loss of life to the ongoing drug toxicity epidemic is devastating and has left a profound and painful impact on so many of us in our community. This is more than a public health issue – it’s a human tragedy that demands we respond with empathy, care and compassion.”
– Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health, Toronto Public Health

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Toronto Public Health Media Relations