Newly released statistics show the grim toll the opioid crisis is having in Canada.
Dr. Theresa Tam, the country’s chief public health officer, said that the number of opioid-related overdose deaths are expected to surpass 4,000 by the end of the year.
That’s a significant increase above the 2,861 Canadians who died due to opioid-overdose related overdoses in 2016.
Compiled by Health Canada’s Drug Analysis Service (DAS), the statistics suggest that 60 per cent of heroin samples (seized by Canada Border Services Agency, the Correctional Service of Canada and police forces) contained fentanyl and/or its analogues.
Fentanyl is a powerful and potentially-deadly opioid that is increasingly finding its way into street drugs across the country. In 2016, 53 per cent of overdoses were due to illicit fentanyl.
Read more about the federal report.
While there is no singular response to Canada’s deepening opioid crisis, being prepared with naloxone is our best option. An opioid inhibitor, naloxone will temporarily reverse an opioid overdose.
To help organizations and individuals handle the opioid crisis, the Canadian Mental Health Association Ontario division has developed a toolkit, Reducing Harms: Recognizing and Responding to Opioid Overdoses in your Organization.
The toolkit provides:
- An overview of the current situation in Ontario related to opioids, naloxone, and opioid-related emergencies, including definitions and facts.
- Explanations of symptoms and who may be at-risk of an opioid overdose.
- Information about where to get naloxone and instructions about how to use it.
- Information about caring for an individual after they receive naloxone.
- Information about supporting employees in the aftermath of an opioid emergency.
- Considerations about implementing a naloxone-delivery policy, including myth-busting information about naloxone administration.