National modelling suggests Canada’s opioid overdose crisis could worsen through 2022

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Published December 15, 2021 at 1:52 pm

OTTAWA — The latest data from a federal special advisory committee on opioid overdoses shows that opioid-related deaths could remain high and even increase in the next six months.

In the statement released today, co-chairs Dr. Theresa Tam and Dr. Jennifer Russell say that the number of deaths and hospitalizations related to opioids remained high in the first half of 2021.

On average, 19 people died and 16 people were hospitalized due to opioid-related overdoses every day.

Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, and Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health, say that current projections suggest that between 1,200 and 2,000 people could die during each quarter through to June 2022.

They highlight the importance of working collectively to prevent harms from substance use and help people who use drugs to access supports.

Tam and Russell say actions that can address this problem include improved access to naloxone, supervised consumption sites, and safer supply programs.

They point to the broader context in which substance use takes place, saying that efforts like ensuring affordable housing for all, fostering social connection within communities, and supporting positive child and youth development can help prevent substance use-related harms.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 15, 2021.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press

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