Opinion: Two-tiered health system is here – and it’s making the overdose crisis worse

published on April 8, 2022 by Guy Felicella in Vancouver Is Awesome

Canadians like to believe that our health care system is the envy of the world: high quality, equitable, and – best of all – free to access. If you look just a little closer, though, the cracks and gaps in our system show, especially when it comes to substance use and addiction. Those gaps reveal a two-tiered health system that is increasing overdose risk.

I see those gaps every day in my work helping people navigate the health system to get treatment for substance use. I recently spoke with a parent whose child wanted to go into addiction treatment, but the waitlist to get in was over a month long. It’s a scenario that’s way too common.

When it comes to addiction, timing is everything. Treatment doesn’t stand a chance of working if someone isn’t ready, so ensuring it’s accessible when they are ready is critical. Any delay could mean an opportunity lost – and missing that opportunity can be deadly. The toxic drug supply means a deadly overdose is always just one hit away…

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