Sunday , January 24 2021

Officials responsible for opioids are safe after more than 2,000 deaths in six months



OTTAWA – Public health officials across the country are seriously considering increasing the supply of safe opioids to quell a crisis because recently released data showed helped sue more than 2,000 lives in the first half of this year.

Director of Canada's Public Health Department said today that the supply of toxic drugs is a key part of Canada's opioids epidemic.

Creating a safer opioid supplement is "being actively tested and discussed" with provinces and territories, said Dr. Teresa Tam, and will need to examine what treatments people require.

Tam said she would be pushed for the market supply of illegal drugs, but she hoped the Canadians would understand the severity of the problem.

"Beyond Canada, not everyone is on the same page," Tam said. "I think my station is a brisk and compassionate response, in order to implement many of these steps, you need the company to be on the side."

The District Health Officer of British Columbia praised the decision to look at safer supplies-something the province had pushed for a long time.

"Currently, the issue we are dealing with and increasing the country's BC, is a toxic, toxic street drug supply," said Dr. Bonnie Henry.

"It's what kills people in this province now, we know, it's along with the stigma and the fact that people who have addictions, they need these drugs, it's not like it's a choice and they can say I'm not going to take them anymore."

Donald McPherson, director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, said a safer supply of opioids is "brainless" to ensure people do not have to resort to a "lethal and illegal" market.

Data released Wednesday by the Public Health Agency show that 94 percent of opioid-related deaths this year were classified as "accidental poisoning". Close to 72% were unintentional deaths, including substances related to pentanil and pentanil.

Fentanyl – a very potent opioid and addictive – is estimated to be 100 times stronger than morphine and is usually mixed into opioids sold on the street, meaning users do not know the power of the drugs they take.

The Canadian Institute of Medical Information also reported data on a 27 percent increase in hospitalizations for opioids in the last five years. Hospitalization rates last year were 2.5 times higher in smaller communities, with a population of 50,000 to 100,000, compared to large cities in Canada, the institute said.

Canadian health experts have encouraged Ottawa to adopt Portugal's approach to drug policy, which removes the limited amount of drugs for personal use, while providing education and social support. Henry argued that liberals should consider dismantling.

"The federal government at this stage does not look at human rights violations on a national basis," Henry said.

"We are facing an early BC crisis where we need to do more."

More about this story from CTVNews.ca


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