Health Minister Jane Philpott and Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale announced Thursday the government will be hosting a conference to tackle the “public health crisis” of opiodis and fentanyl. Both ministers said the increasing amount of overdoses and deaths are a problem and will be taken “very seriously.” Canada’s opioid epidemic will be front and centre today in Ottawa, where politicians will meet with members of the medical community with the common goal of curbing drug addiction and saving lives.
Hoskins says the summit will reinforce the need for leadership right across the country to confront Canada’s opioid epidemic. He says the problem is affecting different parts of Canada in different ways, but it demands a national solution. The federal Liberal government has been very active on the file, but Canadians are dying everyday due to opioid use and abuse. Critics say there is a lack of data and surveillance programs that could shed light on how opioids are prescribed, where they are coming from and how many people are overdosing and dying.
Members of the medical community and front-line soldiers in Canada’s opioid crisis are pressing the federal government to declare a national public health emergency. Dr. David Juurlink, head of pharmacology and toxicology at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, says the opioid problem is so dire it demands an urgent response at the highest levels of government. He tells the John Oakley Show that about 50 Canadians die per week from opioid overdose.