The Ongoing Battle: Canadian Opioid Crisis And The Efforts To Combat It
As we grapple with the complexities of the current opioid crisis affecting many parts of Canada, it becomes evident that this is not just a health issue. It is a societal concern with deep, interconnected roots in homelessness, crime, poverty, and addiction. As a community, we need substantial, systemic change to combat this epidemic effectively. This article sheds light on the crisis and the potential strategies in place to fight back.
The Ripple Effects of The Opioid Crisis
The opioid crisis in Canada has been deemed a national public health crisis. The impacts are far-reaching, leading not only to significant loss of life but also a surge in crime rates and a dramatic increase in the number of homeless people. According to the data retrieved from over 40 police services across Canada, crime rates, especially those related to substances, have surged due to the opioid crisis. There is also a clear link between the crisis and homelessness, exacerbating the struggles of vulnerable communities.
An Overview of the Crisis
- Since 2016, there have been more than 15,000 apparent opioid-related deaths in Canada.
- From January to June 2020, over 2,200 people in Canada died from apparent opioid toxicity, the highest number recorded in a six-month span.
- The rates of opioid-related poisoning hospitalizations have been consistently higher in smaller communities than in larger ones.
- Rough sleeping has considerably increased due to the crisis, contributing to the expanding homelessness problem.
Efforts to Combat the Crisis
In response to the urgent need for action, numerous governmental and non-governmental entities are actively working to address the opioid crisis. Mitigation strategies have ranged from immediate interventions like naloxone distribution to more systemic approaches like the Canadian Opioid Abatement Class Action lawsuit.
Naloxone: A Lifesaver in The Face of Overdose
Naloxone, an opioid antagonist, is being widely distributed to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose immediately. Administered intravenously, intramuscularly, or as a nasal spray, this medication can quickly restore a person’s breath during an opioid overdose within two to five minutes, buying precious time for medical help to arrive.
The Canadian Opioid Abatement Class Action
A Class Action filed in 2018 against various opioid manufacturers and distributors seeks $1.1 billion in damages on behalf of all federal, provincial, and territorial governments and agencies in Canada. The lawsuit alleges that these companies were negligent in their manufacturing and marketing of opioids, contributing significantly to the opioid crisis. If successful, the claim could provide much-needed funds to support addiction treatment and prevention efforts.
Addressing the opioid crisis requires a comprehensive approach inclusive of immediate interventions, long-term solutions, and policy changes. Besides distribution of naloxone to adapt immediate overdoses, a robust investment in housing and mental health support services are equally important to navigate the complex web of homelessness, poverty, and addiction that fuels the crisis. Legal efforts like the Canadian Opioid Abatement Class Action provide hope for holding responsible parties accountable and potentially fund the fight against the crisis. However, it’s essential to understand this is not a battle easily won. As civic and community leaders, the call for collective and coordinated efforts has never been more urgent. Let’s stand together to combat this crisis and its far-reaching effects on our society.