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The province is taking further action in the fight against the growing opioid crisis.

Ontario is establishing an Opioid Emergency Task Force that will include front-line workers and people with lived experience to strengthen the province's coordinated response to the opioid crisis. The Task Force will ensure those closest to the crisis are providing critical insight about what is happening on the ground, to support the province's coordinated response to the crisis and address new challenges as they emerge.

As a first step, Ontario will be providing all public health units in the province with consistent and up-to-date public education materials to support their efforts in local communities to ensure that everyone is receiving the same information regardless of where they live.

The Task Force will also advise the government on a robust and targeted public education campaign to raise awareness about the risks associated with opioid use, and how people can protect themselves and their loved ones against the harms associated with addiction and overdose.

“The devastating impact of the opioid crisis has reached every community across the province and our government is committed to using every tool possible to reverse this heartbreaking trend,” said Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. “Through the creation of the Opioid Emergency Task Force, we will ensure that the people directly affected by this devastating public health emergency have a voice and the support they need to live with dignity,” 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.

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.

Studies show two Ontarians die every day from a fentanyl overdose.

Naloxone kits are distributed for free across Ontario. Naloxone blocks or reverses the effects of opioid medication, including extreme drowsiness, slowed breathing, or loss of consciousness.

For more information:
Opioid hospitalization rate rising, report
Ontario taking on opioid crisis

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