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In a tough opioid death prediction, Ottawa faces the demand to move faster with a safe supply.

Petra Schultz's son Danny was a chef who worked at one of Edmonton's best restaurants and was on his way to recovery fromaddictionto oxycodone. .. His last.

"He went to work the day he died. He died after work. He relapsed and took another tablet, at which timeFentanylwas just emerging, "says Schulz.

Due to the sadness of losing her son, she took action and connected with other parents whose children died onopioids, eventually called Moms Stop the Harm. Co-founded a national advocacy group.

Moms Stop the Harm co-founder Petra Schultz is an advocate for greater harm reduction measures in drug policy. Submitted photo

Eight years later, another tens of thousands of Canadians died from drug-toxic overdose. There are a total of 29,052 people since 2016. And this is a crisis that has worsened significantly in the last two years.

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New data released last week by the federal government is deadly that the opioid crisis is bringing to an astonishing number of Canadians I'm drawing a miserable picture of a sacrifice.

In 2021, the death toll reached a record high. Twenty-one Canadians died of opioids per day. This is an increase of 162% from 2016 and an increase of 101% from the previous year. Last year's opioid crisis killed a total of 7,560 Canadians from 3,747 in 2020. 2020

Gillian Kora, a post-doctor fellow at the Canadian Institute for Material Use at the University of Victoria, said the surge in opioid deaths is "shocking" and should be deepened. It states. For all Canadians.

Read more: The opioid crisis is killing Canadians, but where is the political will to resolve it?

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"How this crisis struck the country and was exacerbated by COVID, its tremendous amount of sadness and loss This was triggered within the community and I think it hasn't really received much attention from any level of government in the last three years, "says Kora.

"It's an urgent crisis that requires urgent intervention."

And the disturbing numbers don't stop there.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has also released modeling forecasts for opioid-related deaths that may continue to occur for the rest of the year. This indicates that the number of deaths is expected to remain high. Or worse – over the next 6 months.

According to PHAC modeling, from now to the end of this year, opioid-related harm can kill 1,400 to 2,400 people quarterly.

As part of this modeling, PHAC has different mortality with different consequences, based on whether health interventions can prevent 30-50% of mortality and the level of fentanyl. Includes rate scenarios. Drug supply is the same as or worse than December 2021.

Observed and predicted opioid-related deaths in Canada from January 2016 to December 2022.Public Health Agency of Canada

However, Dr. Andrea is working on a street-level intervention and support program for drug users. Dr. Sereda The London Intercommunity Health Center in Ontario says she has problems with these predictions.

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For one thing, She says fentanyl The efficacy of street drugs has never diminished, but it has worsened and become more toxic. With this, the hypothetical prediction that the toxicity of the drug supply remains the same or improves is "incredibly naive".

Sereda also wonders why all levels of government aren't dealing with the problem more urgently, even though their own modeling predictions predict a surprising number of deaths. increase.

Read more: Canadians say new research raises concerns about the opioid crisis

"What else is happening in Canada Thousands of people die each year in Canada, but a 30% or 50% reduction in mortality was all right," Sereda said.

"Looking at COVID, I think we tried to prevent all deaths, so why the best we are aiming for is probably the humans in our community. Do you make a model that is a 30 or 50 percent reduction in death? "

Therefore, many professionals and people working in the field say that the federal government has a national public health urgent need for drug toxicity. He declares he is overdose and says he should take more urgent action to prevent more people from dying.

And one of the key harm reduction strategies that many experts and advocates want to expand in Canada is to provide a safer drug supply.

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Read more: Opioid overdose crisis in Alberta Is approaching a deadly record, data shows

Sereda is running a federal-funded security program at her center in London, first She says the improvements when opened were instantly spectacular.

As part of this program, she can prescribe drug-grade opioids to people who are dependent on street-level fentanyl. This means you don't have to experience the debilitating effects of withdrawal symptoms, instead you need to know what medications you are taking, how much you are taking, where and when you can get them legally.

"Dramatically reduced overdose, reduced by 50% in the first month. Significantly reduced hospitalization in the emergency department. Significantly improved people's physical and mental health. And there was a reduction in criminal activity such as trivial crimes and survival sex work, "says Sereda.

"A safer supply will make everything better."

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Last month, Federal Mental Health Addiction Minister Carolyn Bennett agreed to adopt a more progressive harm reduction approach to stop the increase in deaths. Toxic drug addiction, including accepting safe supplies.

Read more: Proponents need a safe drug supply to combat the surge in deaths from opioid overdose in Canada

"A safe drug supply with putting regulation is a true antidote to the toxicity of the current supply," Bennett said on May 31 in British Colombia. He added that he understands that "the progress towards a safe supply really needs to be accelerated", he said at a news conference.

In a statement to Global News, Bennett's office said the federal government "barriers to providing safer medicines to replace toxic and illegal drug supplies for drug users. Promising to "reduce" and said it supported 17 safer supply projects, in addition to 30 sites in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick, one national practice community – Total investment is over $ 64 million.

"There is no single solution to the crisis of overdose, and the government is taking a comprehensive approach," the statement said.

B. C. Non-criminalizing possession of some hard drugs during the opioid crisis – 31 May 2022

But supporters and experts are federal and state governments. Accepts and deploys larger harm reduction measures – delays at the expense of human life.

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British Columbia Executive Director Cheyenne Johnson Center for Material Use Welcomes Federal Pilot Project on Safe Supply However, they say they reach only a small number of people in a small number of target areas of the country.

"So you have another substance use disorder, the health system hasn't reached them, or they're in rural or remote areas, and these programs actually reach them. It turns out that the death toll from overdose is still very high because of this large band of non-population. ”

Read more: Opioid Crisis: B to recover medical costs. C. Eight years after seeing a sharp increase in opioid deaths in Canada after losing his son, who reached a $ 150 million settlement in a led lawsuit, Schultz He says he has come to believe that progressive measures such as safe supply are the key to saving the lives of people like Danny.

"I didn't start this way after my son died. I slowly died not because he died from material use, but because of poor material use policy. I noticed. "

She believes that the opioid crisis should be treated as an urgent priority by governments at all levels, especially Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"He should set an example and guide the MPs to discuss the need to deal with this," she said.

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"We need to manage this death toll and deploy a large safety supply model. There is. "

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