Officials with the Porcupine Health Unit and Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board are reporting an increase in suspected opioid overdoses in the Timmins area.

Health officials say there are "reports of drugs laced with powerful opioids" circulating the community.

They say substances may come in different colours and textures, but fentanyl and carfentanil cannot be detected by sight, smell or taste and warn those opioids can be fatal in very small doses.

On Friday, Cochrane District Emergency Services reported it responded to 15 opioid overdoses in March and 10 as of April 24, with eight of them happening since the 15th.

"In fact, what's kind of complicating that in the time of COVID-19 is that people are eligible for different amounts of funding, whether it's the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit, increase your child tax credit and people who take advantage of the homeless population and their addictions are not unaware of these benefits, so this is part of the challenge as well," said Brian Marks, CEO of Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board. 

Officials say the current numbers are much higher now compared to 2019, when there were 15 opioid overdoses reported between January and April 2019.