The Canadian Opioid Crisis: Rising Fatal Toxicity

The opioid crisis escalates with the rise of fatal toxicity from drugs laced with deadly substances, posing a serious threat to communities.

The Rise of Fatal Toxicity in the Canadian Opioid Crisis

The opioid crisis is a complex and pressing issue that pervades our communities, causing untold harm to individuals, families, and societies at large. A worrying trend that we are currently witnessing is the increase in fatal toxicity from drugs laced with lethal substances. This growing issue was recently explored by Orillia Matters. Emerging substances like benzodiazepines, a type of sedative, are increasingly found in opioid drugs leading to a sharp increase in life-threatening overdoses.

The Rise of Benzodiazepines and other Sedatives in Opioids

The rising prevalence of benzodiazepines, mixed with opioids has resulted in an escalating opioid crisis, leading to a surge in fatal overdoses. These sedatives increase the effects of opioids, slowing breathing and potentially leading to overdose or death. The addition of benzodiazepines makes it hard for overdose prevention drugs like naloxone to effectively counteract the effects of opioids.

Sources reporting to Orillia Matters affirm that these mixed substances are surfacing more often and becoming a significant part of the growing opioid crisis. More alarmingly, these sedatives are also appearing in non-opioid drugs, exponentially increasing the risks for users unaware of the presence of these potentially deadly additives.

Global and Nationwide Overview of the Opioid Crisis

  • The World Health Organization estimates that opioids kill more than 115,000 people worldwide each year.
  • In Canada alone, there were more than 15,000 apparent opioid-related deaths between January 2016 and December 2020.
  • The Canadian opioid abatement class action is a national effort seeking to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for the opioid crisis.
  • Researchers note an increasing trend of homelessness and crime associated with opioid addiction.

Efforts to Abate the Opioid Crisis: A Focused look at Orillia

Communities are starting to implement strategies to abate the opioid crisis. In Orillia, these efforts include multiple overdose prevention sites where users can find support during their recovery, access to clean drug equipment, and counselling. Participants are also educated on the risks associated with mixing drugs, and offered naloxone kits for preventing fatal overdoses.

Healthcare professionals in the community undertake regular rounds to homeless camps providing medical care and resources. The Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy, a collective response to the opioid crisis, is aimed at reducing opioid harms through various means such as prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and enforcement.

Summary and Key Takeaways

From the investigation by Orillia Matters, it is clear that the opioid crisis is taking a new, dangerous twist with the rise of opioids mixed with sedatives, leading to an increase in fatalities. Benzodiazepines counter the effects of life-saving overdose treatments like naloxone, making overdoses increasingly fatal.

The impact of the crisis is far-reaching, with the drastic rise of opioid-related fatalities and associated societal issues such as homelessness and crime. In response, numerous efforts like the Canadian opioid abatement class action, community preventive measures, and distribution of naloxone kits are underway to fight back against this crisis.

While these initiatives have had some positive impact, progress is slow and the crisis continues to escalate. Communities, leaders, and healthcare providers must remain vigilant while continuing to develop and implement innovative solutions to help those affected by the opioid crisis.


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