Opioid overdose crisis is one of the most serious public health crises in Canada
Aug. 22, 2020
Global Korean Post
The opioid overdose crisis continues to be one of the most serious public health crises in Canada’s recent history. Tragically, in many communities, the COVID-19 outbreak is worsening this crisis. The Government of Canada is taking action to ensure communities have the tools and support they need to keep people at risk of overdose safe during the outbreak.
On Aug. 20, on behalf of Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, Member of Parliament Arif Virani, announced more than $582,000 in funding over 10 months for an emergency safer supply project to help people at risk of overdose during the COVID-19 outbreak in Toronto, Ontario.
Led by the Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre, this project will respond immediately to the increasingly toxic illegal drug supply during the COVID-19 outbreak.
It will provide pharmaceutical-grade medication to people experiencing severe opioid use disorder and connect patients with important health and social services, including treatment, which may be more difficult to access during the COVID-19 outbreak. Additional supports offered include a harm reduction drop-in program, evidence-based information, supplies, food and referrals to other service providers.
To further keep people at risk of overdose safe during the outbreak, the Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre has been granted a federal exemption to operate an Urgent Public Health Need site at the COVID-19 isolation shelter in Etobicoke until September 30, 2020.
Also known as an overdose prevention site, this Urgent Public Health Need Site will help people who use drugs stay safe, respect physical distancing and self-isolation measures while offering supervised consumption, harm reduction services, education and 24/7 on-call services for shelter residents.
Substance use disorder is a health condition that can be managed and treated. However, during the COVID-19 outbreak, people who use drugs are experiencing a number of increased risks, with several jurisdictions reporting higher rates of overdose, including fatal overdoses and other harms related to an increasingly toxic illegal supply.