Opinion: A tale of two public health crises — science is being used to stem coronavirus but not opioid deaths

published on March 12, 2020 by Thomas Kerr and M-J Milloy in National Post

As one public health emergency sees policymakers around the world turn to the best available science to stem its tide, another deadly crisis rages on while science remains noticeably absent.

In Canada and many other countries, the rapid scaling up of evidence-based responses to the outbreak of coronavirus has seen politicians standing alongside public health officials to deliver the latest updates on how governments are responding to limit the spread of the virus and minimize its harms. Contrast that to the ongoing opioid overdose crisis, where it seems politicians are too often seen standing next to the critics of those same public health officials. This is a concerning reality given that approximately 12 Canadians die every day of an opioid overdose.

Case in point: the stale debate that continues to surround supervised consumption sites, which have been conclusively proven effective in preventing overdoses and reducing other drug-related harms, while not undermining public safety objectives…

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