Opioid-related deaths have risen 249% in Mississauga and Brampton since 2014
Published May 30, 2022 at 1:06 pm
A recent report indicates a troubling increase in opioid-related deaths in Mississauga and Brampton.
According to a report presented to Peel Regional Council on Thursday (May 26), opioid-related deaths are continuing to increase in Peel and have risen 249% since 2014, with at least 606 lives lost.
2014 saw a sharp increase compared to a relatively stable trend in the years prior. In 2017 there was another sharp increase with the annual death rate increasing from 3.1 per 100,000 (46 deaths) to 5.4 per 100,000 (81 deaths), and the deaths have continued to rise each year since.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, opioid-related deaths have risen dramatically in Peel and Ontario overall. The increase in deaths was attributed to drug supply changes, reduced access to mental health and addiction services, and increased social isolation.
Throughout the province, the largest increase in fatal overdoses during the pandemic was seen among those aged 25 to 44, with 1,109 people in that cohort dying during the pandemic compared with 608 deaths in the same period in 2019.
The vast majority of all opioid-related deaths were deemed to be accidental.
“Responding to drug toxicity related harms is a top priority for Peel Public Health and community partners,” says the report presented by Nancy Polsinelli, Commissioner of Health Services, and Lawrence Loh, Peel’s former Medical Officer of Health who recently stepped down from his post.
“During the pandemic, given mass staff redeployment, available resources were used to maintain and expand client-facing harm reduction services while strategic work related to the Peel Opioid Strategy was paused until late 2021. Priority work has resumed with a focus on specific initiatives in three areas.”
Regional Council is continuing to look at multiple strategies to combat the increasing deaths, including the establishment of supervised consumption services and ongoing policy dialogue related to drug decriminalization.
In December 2019, Council endorsed the Peel Opioid Strategy and Peel Supervised Consumption Site Needs Assessment and Feasibility Study, and will continue to “advance a comprehensive drug strategy in Peel that addresses substance use broadly in our community.”
Further recommendations related to these strategies will be brought back to Council as the work advances in the coming months, according to the report.insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising