Breaking Bad is the reality’: Canada’s opioid crisis is worsening, conference in Ottawa hears

published on November 18, 2016 by Joanne Laucius in Ottowa Citizen

Canada’s opioid crisis is worsening and health professionals and policymakers are scrambling for a solution, a packed audience at an opioid conference in Ottawa heard Friday morning.

The invitation-only conference, chaired by Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott and her Ontario counterpart Eric Hoskins, was organized to address the increasing number of overdoses and deaths due to the use of opioids.

The conference heard that multiple doses of naloxone, the antidote administered to overdose patients, are now required when only a short time ago, just one dose was sufficient.

Harm reduction has to be a central plank in any strategy, said Dr. Thomas Kerr, co-director of a research project on addictions and urban health in B.C. Moreover, programs that enlist the peers of drug users have a much greater reach because drug users tend to avoid conventional public health programs, he said. “We need to start looking for every opportunity to include people who use drugs.” Kerr added there’s evidence that suggests legalizing marijuana reduces the use of opioids as users take cannabis while they seek to reduce their consumption of more powerful drugs.

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