Perspectives on the opioid crisis

published on June 8, 2018 by Matt Reeder and Ryan McNutt in Dalhousie University

More than ever, Canadians are turning their attention towards the impact of opioids on their communities.

Labelled a “crisis” in the media, and by the Government of Canada, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of overdoses and deaths through opioid painkillers like fentanyl and oxycodone. In 2016, there were more than 2,800 opioid-suspected deaths in Canada, with an expectation that the final number for 2017 will be well above 3,000.

“It’s such an important health topic facing Canada right now,” says Sherry Stewart, Dalhousie professor cross-appointed to several departments and one of the principal investigators with the Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse (CRISM) — a national research consortium looking at substance misuse.

She’s also a panelist at an event next week hosted by Dal’s NTE Impact Ethics group. Paired with a screening of the film Werewolf — the acclaimed Nova Scotia feature film by director Ashley McKenzie about two young people undergoing methadone treatment — the event on Monday, June 11 (Paul O’Regan Hall, Halifax Central Library, 6 p.m.) hopes to shine a light on opioid use disorder and related health and social issues.

Ahead of the event, we spoke to a few Dalhousie experts on the subject, to discuss the opioid challenge from a variety of different perspectives and what it means to Canadian communities.

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