Health Boards to Hire Surge of New Front-line Workers

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The Ontario Drug Policy Research Network (ODPRN) has found that opioid-related death rates have quadrupled over the past 25 years in Ontario, and now, Ontario is making moves to combat the opioid crisis.

New front-line addiction and mental health workers will be hired for every community in the province, and almost 80,000 additional naloxone kits per year will be distributed to front-line organizations.

The surge of new workers, such as addiction outreach workers and nurses, aims to improve addiction outreach, education, and planning while working on early warning and surveillance of opioid overdoses.

The province is providing funding for every board of health in Ontario to hire more of these front-line workers, to help municipalities expand supports for people impacted by opioid addiction and overdose.

In addition, more than 6,500 additional naloxone kits per month will be distributed within communities to those at risk of opioid overdose and their friends and family, through community organizations such as shelters, outreach organizations, AIDS Service Organizations, Community Health Centres and withdrawal management programs.

In 2015 alone, 734 people in Ontario died of an opioid-related cause. This number has quadrupled over the past 25 years, averaging about two people dying from opioids every day. To put this in perspective, that’s more than the number of people killed in motor vehicle collisions in 2014.

As of March 2017, more than 28,000 naloxone kits have been dispensed free of charge at pharmacies, public health units and community-based organizations that run needle exchange and hepatitis C programs, as well as provincial correctional facilities.

A lot of people are about to be employed, and hopefully, a lot of deaths prevented.

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