Over 850 Ontario health care professionals from more than 120 health organizations and advocacy groups are pushing back against the Ontario government’s decision to put a freeze on overdose prevention sites.
In an open letter to Premier Doug Ford and health minister Christine Elliott, the groups called on the government to open three pre-approved sites, approve applications and funding for more sites, as well as engage in meaningful consultations to combat the current opioid overdose crisis. They warn the government’s policy shift is putting lives at risk.
The open letter comes weeks after the Ontario government announced the pause of planned openings of three overdose prevention sites in Thunder Bay, St. Catharines and Toronto and further approvals of more locations.
Federal government data shows nearly 4,000 apparent opioid-related deaths were reported across Canada in 2017, including 1,125 in Ontario. A new study by the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network further highlights the significant role played by legally prescribed medication in the ongoing opioid crisis.
As part of the larger initiative to help fight opioid overdoses, CMHA Ontario has developed a Naloxone toolkit, an easy-to-understand resource to help organizations and individuals identify signs of an opioid overdose and deliver potentially life-saving naloxone.
To find out where you can get a naloxone kit, visit Ontario.ca/OpiodOverdose.