Addiction experts discuss solutions to opioid overdose crisis

published on December 20, 2016 by Anna Maria Tremonti in The Current

According to new numbers released by the B.C. Coroners Service, November was the deadliest month on record for the province with 128 fatal overdoses “” bringing the year’s total to more than 750 deaths.

The spike is being blamed on the synthetic opioid fentanyl, detected in more than 60 per cent of the overdose deaths.

“Anybody working on the front lines during November wouldn’t be overly surprised to hear these tragic numbers,” addiction physician Dr. Keith Ahamad tells The Current‘s Anna Maria Tremonti.

“We certainly saw overdoses presenting to first responders and emergency departments surging at astronomical levels at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.”

Dr. Ahamad says that with the increasingly toxic and poisonous illicit drug market and a lack of accessible treatment across Canada, “you’re going to see skyrocketing overdoes and overdose deaths.”

To help address the crisis, Dr. Ahamd tells Tremonti that harm reduction needs more support.

“I don’t think that we’ve really even come close to investing enough for harm reduction. At the same time we need to significantly increase the funding and expanding of the treatment system in Canada as well.”

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