Non-Fatal Overdose Incidents in Federal Custody - 2020-2021

Government of Canada

Release Date




Language of Resource

English and French

Full Text Available


Open Access / OK to Reproduce


Peer Reviewed



As part of ongoing monitoring efforts, the current study provides an overview of non-fatal overdose incidents that occurred in a federal institution in 2020-2021.

Findings/Key points

In 2020-2021, there were 131 non-fatal overdose incidents in federal custody, a roughly 25% decrease from 2019-2020. There was an increase in the number of incidents in the Atlantic region, and overall, regional distribution was more diffuse relative to prior years. The number of incidents in Ontario decreased 62% from the previous year. This decrease was likely associated with restrictions and measures in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Shifts in substances were evident in 2020-2021. While opioids remained the most common identified substance (38%; compared to 36% in 2019-2020), there was a shift in the type of opioids identified in incidents. Fentanyl was suspected or confirmed in 15% of cases (compared to 24% in 2019-2020), while methadone or suboxone were suspected or confirmed in 18% of cases (compared to 5% in 2019-2020). In addition, there was a notable increase in cases involving non-opioid, non-stimulant prescription medications (34%; compared to 19% in 2019-2020). While less pronounced, there was also an increase in cases involving stimulants, such as methamphetamine (15%; compared to 7% in 2019-2020). Note that no substance was documented in 18% of cases.

Français :…


Legal system/law enforcement