Health minister to make substance abuse announcement at opioid symposium – CP

Source: The Canadian Press
Sep 6, 2018

TORONTO _ The federal health minister is expected to announce new measures to increase access to treatment for substance abuse at an opioid symposium in Toronto today.

Ginette Petitpas Taylor is set to make the announcement after participating in a panel with Bill Blair, the federal minister for organized crime reduction.

A description of the event on the government’s website says the two ministers will discuss some of the “actions taken to respond to the opioid crisis” as well as “priorities for the way forward.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and B.C. Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy are also participating.

The announcement comes as Ontario grapples with the future of its overdose prevention sites, after the provincial government announced last month it would halt the opening of new sites while it conducts a review of their effectiveness.

The moratorium was condemned by more than 100 health groups, who said the move was putting lives at risk.

Advocates said a string of overdose deaths in Toronto last month shows there is urgent need for more facilities, and urged the province to reverse its decision.

Petitpas Taylor said on Wednesday that her ministry intends to share with Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government its data showing that overdose prevention sites and supervised consumption sites work.

“We certainly want to be able to share that information with them, and I hope that they’ll be making an informed decision based on the data that we have,” she told The Canadian Press in an interview.

More than 3,800 people died from opioids in Canada in 2017, compared to 2,978 in 2016, according to the latest figures published by Health Canada.


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