The Sombre Reality of the Canadian Opioid Crisis
In a disturbing piece of news today, London, Ontario has registered not only a higher number of opioid overdoses but also emergency room visits – a clear indicator of the deepening opioid crisis in Canada. [source]
The Gravitas of The Situation
“You don’t have to be a statistician to see a problem,” states Dr. Chris Mackie, the medical officer of health for the Middlesex-London Health Unit. The sober realities of the opioid crisis go beyond mere numbers and, as outlined in the article, several people are playing Russian roulette with fentanyl-laced drugs. According to Public Health Ontario, the depth of the crisis is most evident in the city of London, where opioid poisonings resulting in emergency room visits soared by 55 percent from 2016 to 2017.
“There is a clear correlation between the count of emergency room visits and the opioid crisis,” Dr. Mackie further tells the media.
The significant points covered in the article are as follows:
- The Canadian opioid crisis is reaching a critical point, with opioid-related deaths and ER visits rapidly escalating, specifically in London, Ontario.
- Opioid poisonings resulting in ER visits in London jumped by 55% from 2016 to 2017.
- Fentanyl-laced drugs are playing a major role in this increase.
- A greater allocation of resources towards homeless populations and addiction treatment services are among the strategies to combat the opioid crisis.
- There is an urgent need for targeted interventions, such as naloxone training and distributed kits, to help manage the situation.
The Way Forward
Efforts are being engaged to tackle the opioid crisis. The Ontario government has pledged to invest an additional $222 million over three years on measures to combat the escalating opioid crisis. Of this, $15 million is allocated to every local health unit in the province, employing 80 coordinators across the province to aid opioid response. Naloxone, an opioid antagonist, is being used in a bid to counter opioid overdose cases and is being provided for free in emergency departments.
The London Community Foundation has also responded to the crisis by devoting $1.3 million towards supporting the homeless community, which is most affected by this crisis. The aim is to reinforce opioid education, improve housing stability, and reduce overall crime rates.
Conclusion: The Important Takeaways
Undoubtedly, the opioid crisis in Canada is escalating at an alarming rate and requires immediate attention. The correlation between emergency room visits and opioid overdoses, particularly in London, Ontario, continues to be stark. The challenges of homelessness, crime, insufficient resources, and a needing response to the opioid crisis are interlinked and difficult to disentangle.
Hopefully, the strategies initiated, from funding for local health units, naloxone training and distribution, to major allocations targeted towards the homeless community and addiction services, will prove fruitful in the coming years. There is much at stake, as the well-being and future of many defenceless individuals are on the line. The opioid class-action may bring about resource justice, but it will take combined community action and governmental resolution to fundamentally address and reduce the harm of this crisis.