“The Opioid Crisis in Canada: Accusations and Abatement Measures”

The opioid crisis in Canada faces accusations of fueling from pharmacy benefit managers, highlighting the need for comprehensive measures to combat its impact.

The Opioid Crisis in Canada: Accusations and Measures to Abate

While the opioid crisis is a well-known issue affecting numerous nations globally, Canada is grappling with an especially harsh impact from this widespread problem. An examination of a recent article exposes a troubling facet of this crisis, spotlighting how two prominent pharmacy benefit managers stand accused of fuelling the opioid epidemic within their scope of influence. The repercussions of opioid misuse extend beyond those directly affected, impacting social structures, public services, and economic stability.

The Opioid Crisis and Its Effects

The opioid crisis refers to the significant increase in the use and misuse of both prescription and non-prescription opioid drugs. This increasing prevalence implicates alarming rates of opioid overdose and related deaths, posing a potent public health hazard. However, the narcotics epidemic reaches beyond these immediate health concerns, bearing additional societal repercussions as dividing lines between physical health, mental health, homelessness, and crime blur.

Homelessness and Crime

Chronic substance misuse often correlates with homelessness. As the cycle of addiction ensnares individuals, maintaining stable employment and hence, stable housing, becomes increasingly challenging. This susceptibility to homelessness perpetuates a destructive cycle, exacerbating the struggles with substance dependence.

Secondly, a surge in drug-related criminal activities can be attributed to the underground narcotics trade’s very nature. Street drugs, like illicit opioids, provide a local economy that breeds crime. Consequently, communities stricken by opioid misuse often experience heightened rates of violence and theft.

Combatting the Crisis

Effectively tackling the opioid crisis necessitates a multi-faceted approach, stretching from punitive measures levied against those entities implicated in promoting opioid misuse, to harm reduction tactics such as increased accessibility to the opioid antagonist, Naloxone.

Legal Action

The Canadian opioid abatement class action is a key example. In 2018, several Canadian municipalities launched lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors, alleging these companies deliberately misled the public regarding the potential harm attached to their products. As the allegations presented in the aforementioned article illustrate, legal action continues to be employed as a means to address this crisis and hold responsible parties accountable.

Harm Reduction Tactics

Parallelly, harm reduction tactics, such as widespread training in Naloxone use, can save lives. As an opioid antagonist, Naloxone counteracts opioid effects, reversing potentially fatal overdoses. Widely accessible via free public programs, Naloxone kits can serve as a critical tool in the broader counter-opioid initiative.

Key Points

  • The opioid crisis refers to the surge in opioid misuse, contributing to increases in homelessness and crime.
  • The Canadian opioid abatement class action represents an attempt to hold those entities accountable that may have fuelled the opioid crisis.
  • Parallel harm reduction initiatives, like wider distribution and training in Naloxone use, can prevent potentially fatal opioid overdoses.


The opioid crisis affects individuals, communities, and nations, touching on overlapping issues of health, poverty, housing, and criminal activity. Balancing punitive and preventative measures is essential. While legal action against pharmaceutical entities implicated in the crisis serves as a dissuasive measure, harm reduction initiatives offer immediate, life-saving mitigation. The Canadian response to the opioid crisis, both through the opioid abatement class action and public health initiatives, like naloxone distribution, reveals the need for comprehensive strategies that broaden beyond a purely penal or medical response to effectively address the crisis in its multifaceted complexity.


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