The number of hospitalized Canadians due to opioid poisoning is growing, according to new statistics published by the Canadian Institute for Health Information.
Between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017, an average of 16 Canadians were hospitalized each day due to opioid poisoning. Two years ago, the average was just 13 people per day. Statistics show that more than 50 per cent of the cases were considered accidental. The report shows that youth aged 15 – 24, and adults aged 25 – 44 had the fastest growing opioid poisoning rates.
In February, OPP Detective Sergeant Lee Fulford spoke about fentanyl, one of the more prevalent opioids contributing to the crisis.
"These pills are being disguised as other pills, which makes it very dangerous to the public," he said. "Fentanyl can look like anything. You can't see it. You can't smell it. You can't taste it. It can be disguised as any prescription medication that can be prescribed by a doctor," he said.
In late August, Ontario announced a strategy to provide relief to those affected by the opioid crisis, including adding more front-line-harm-reduction workers, expanding the supply of the overdose reversal drug naloxone, and creating rapid access addiction clinics in every region of the province.
In total, Ontario is investing over $222 million over 3 years to enhance Ontario's Strategy to Prevent Opioid Addiction and Overdose.
In August, Ontario Conservative Leader Patrick Brown spoke about the opioid crisis.
"I've heard the tragic story of a mother, who told me about losing her son. It was a preventable death," he said. "I don't want to hear from another mother, who has lost their son, knowing we didn't do enough, knowing the government didn't do enough," he continued.
Studies show two Ontarians die every day from a fentanyl overdose.
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Ontario taking on opioid crisis