B.C. declares public health emergency after 200 overdose deaths in 2016
This year so far, there have been more than 200 overdose deaths in British Columbia related to the synthetic opioid, fentanyl. The province has declared a public health emergency.
If the rate of overdose deaths continues in B.C., as many as 800 people could die this year.
Opioid abuse is so severe in Canada that more people die of opioid overdoses than in car crashes. And many of those addictions start not with an illicit street purchase but with a prescription.
As public health agencies and police now work to contain Canada's opioid crisis, critics say the situation we're in could have been predicted, and that actions should have been taken much sooner.
Guests in this segment:
- Dr. Perry Kendall, B.C. provincial health officer.
- Benedikt Fischer, senior scientist at CAMH, and professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto.
- Debbie Dowell, lead author on the new CDC recommendations on prescribing opioids.
The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada sent a statement which reads, in part:
The Royal College is working with its partners on creating a series of educational resources and processes based on the most up to date...science...to reduce the rates of prescriptions and help (addicted) patients get off opioids and on to more appropriate therapies.
This segment was produced by The Current's Liz Hoath.