The Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Eric Hoskins, has announced additional funding to support those affected by the opioid crisis. This announcement at St. Michaels Hospital in Toronto on August 29th aims to enhance Ontario’s Strategy to Prevent Opioid Addiction and Overdose, initially announced in October 2016.
The announcement on August 29th included new investments that build on previous commitments:
- $70 million in long-term support for people who have substance use concerns including treatment and community-based withdrawal management services.
- $9 million to add more front-line harm-reduction outreach workers in communities across the province, and the expansion of evidence-based harm reduction services such as needle exchange programs and supervised injection sites.
- More than $15 million to support health-care providers on appropriate pain management and opioid prescribing.
- Expanding accessibility of naloxone across the province, including distribution in emergency departments.
- Beginning in 2018-19, $20 million in funds over two years for specialized support for Indigenous communities and youth.
- Partnering with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health to expand addictions treatment and care provided in family health teams across the province.
CMHA Ontario commends the Ontario government for this significant investment in community-based mental health and addictions services to help fight the opioid crisis in Ontario. Expanding access to community-based withdrawal management services and addictions programs was a key recommendation in CMHA Ontario and Addictions and Mental Health Ontario’s joint response on the opioid strategy in February 2017.
Also in attendance at the announcement was Dr. Dirk Huyer, Chief Coroner of Ontario, who released updated data stating that 865 people died in 2016 due to opioid overdose in the province. This equals more than two deaths due to opioids in the province daily. As a result of the current increase in opioid overdose deaths, CMHA Ontario will be taking part in International Overdose Awareness day on August 31st. For more information, visit: www.overdoseday.com.