Is it time for a national strategy on the opioid crisis?
Carnage. Perhaps that's the best word to describe the human devastation caused by the opioid crisis.
More from this episode:
- 'You have to look after yourself:' Checkup caller says more support is needed for families of addicts
- Those with ADHD are more likely to get addicted to opioids, says Checkup caller
- Separate mental illness and addiction when dealing with the opioid crisis: Checkup caller
Almost 2,500 Canadians died of opioid overdoses last year — nearly seven people every day— according to new data released by public health officials this week in a first attempt to try to compile a national picture of the crisis. British Columbia has been hardest hit. Fatal overdoses there have overtaken motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death, prompting the province to declare a public health emergency last year.
But, from coast to coast, the death toll caused by opioids is on the rise.
The mayors of Canada's biggest cities have declared it's time to act, calling for a national action plan to treat the country's opioid crisis.
Problem is, there isn't just one opioid crisis. There are overlapping crises.
In the West, what's behind the spike in overdoses is fentanyl, a fast-acting, non-pharmacuetical synthetic painkiller... 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Street drugs are being laced with fentanyl, leaving what the mayor of Vancouver calls a "bloodbath" with no end in sight.
In the East, especially Ontario, the trouble lies with prescription drugs making their way to the street. Doctors are prescribing opioids widely and liberally. Canada is now ranked the world's second biggest consumer of prescription opioids. And when prescriptions run out, some of those consumers turn to the streets.
Are doctors to blame for opioid addiction and over-dosage? Are provinces doing enough to prevent over-prescribing and doctor-shopping? Or is the crisis making it harder for patients to obtain painkillers?
The Prime Minister says the federal government won't rest until it turns the tide of opioid epidemic, touting $110 million dollars set aside for a national drug strategy.
Health Canada has ramped up approvals of supervised-injection sites. Vancouver, Surrey, Toronto, and Montreal will now have clinics. Should there be more. so drug users can inject legally under the watchful eye of nurses? What about addiction treatment centres? Are there enough where you live?
Our question today: Is it time for a national strategy on Canada's opioid crisis? Is the crisis affecting you?
Mayor of Calgary
Founder of the Overdose prevention Society in Vancouver
Dr. Granger Avery
President of the Canadian Medical Assocation
Former addict and a special advisor to the executive director with We the Parents, an Ottawa grassroots parents organization formed this year to fight teen drug abuse.
Author of Opium Eater and opioid user
Dr. Susan McDonald
Associate Professor of Medicine and Family Medicine at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and Past President of the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians. Deals with managing chronic pain in patients daily.
- At least 2,458 Canadians died from opioid-related overdoses in 2016: report
- Trudeau says governments must find a lasting solution to opioid epidemic
- Fentanyl lifeguards: The makeshift paramedics of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside
- A year of overdoses: 7 charts that show the scope of B.C.'s drug crisis
- Watch: Unstoppable: The Fentanyl Epidemic
- How the powerful opioid Fentanyl kills
- CBC Investigates: 'It's like pulling teeth': No treatment bed for B.C. fentanyl addict who returned from the dead
- How Alberta's fentanyl crisis escalated despite years of warnings
- CBC Listen: Opioid Babies
- CBC Investigates: A night in Canada's busiest emergency room for overdoses: St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver
- Big city mayors release new recommendations to combat opioid crisis
- 'Our aim ... is to keep people alive': Alberta invests $30M to deal with opioid crisis
- The Fentanyl Fix: How do we solve B.C.'s opioid overdose crisis
- Interactive map of overdose deaths brings opioid crisis to your doorstep
The Globe and Mail
- Opioid crisis: Listen to the big-city mayors
- Federal government approves three supervised-injection sites in Toronto
- Collaboration between U.S., drug companies could benefit Canada: scientist
- 488 overdose deaths in B.C. so far this year: chief coroner
- How a letter written by a doctor fuelled the opioid epidemic
- Alberta, B.C. to usher in new prescription rules amid opioid crisis
- Alberta commission to tackle overdose crisis
- Editorial: How to end Canada's biggest public health emergency
- Review: Carlyn Zwarenstein's Opium Eater achieves that rare thing a dispassionate account informed by deeply personal experience
- Young kids at risk of opioid overdose from adult prescriptions in household: study
- Progress on opioids, incoherence on marijuana
- 'These drugs are killing our kids': Why teen brains are more vulnerable to fentanyl and opioid addiction
- The new tool to fight fentanyl: a nasal spray that stops overdoses in their tracks
- Father writes open letter about drug use in Kanata, Ont.: At least eight teens have overdosed in two months
- Over four months, 10 doctors and 10 pharmacies gave addicted patient in B.C. 26 prescriptions of opioids
- The silent killer: Overdose victims often don't even know they've consumed fentanyl
- 'More is not always better': More drugs mean seniors more likely to land in hospital, says study
- Chronic pain sufferers could be refused opioids as Liberals ditch anti-tampering plan, doctors warn
- I'm not a junkie, and my family is starving because doctors won't prescribe me opioids so I can work
Guelph Mercury Tribune
Federation of Canadian Municipalities
- Big City Mayors release recommendations on opioid crisis
- The Opioid Crisis: city-based solutions
- Recommendations of the Mayors' Task Force on THE OPIOID CRISIS (PDF)
- Guideline for opioid therapy and chronic non-cancer pain
- COMMENTARY - New Canadian guidance on opioid use for chronic pain: necessary but not sufficient
Health Quality Ontario