Canada’s top doctor open to decriminalization of opioids as deaths rise

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But some experts and advocacy groups fear there could be an increase in opioid-related deaths during the pandemic, a trend that has already been confirmed in provinces like Ontario and British Columbia. In the latter province, there was a 130% increase in overdoses in June. deaths compared to June of last year.

Petra Schulz, co-founder of Moms Stop The Harm, said the number of recently bereaved families who have contacted the organization has skyrocketed in recent months.

“In Ontario and British Columbia, where we have details, we have seen overdose deaths like never before,” said Schulz.

“We don’t have numbers in Alberta, which we really should have right now, but one can only assume that the overdose rates here in Alberta are also bad.

Although statistics from March are not yet available, AHS issued a health warning in June for the Edmonton area following a spike in opioid overdoses and deaths, particularly regarding carfentanil, a drug according to AHS is about 100 times more potent than fentanyl. It is linked to 16 deaths in the Edmonton area during the last week of May and the first week of June alone.

Donald MacPherson, director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, said the reason for the increase in overdoses was likely twofold.

When the border closed, the drug supply in Canada became more dangerous as more drugs were manufactured or modified in Canada, he said, but pandemic restrictions also saw the sites of ‘Safe injection and methadone clinics offer more limited services or shut down altogether to prevent the spread of COVID. -19, leaving drug addicts isolated with more toxic drugs.

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