It’s worse than we thought

Gov­ern­ment adds 400 OD deaths to 2016 ad­justed tally

Metro Canada (Ottawa) - - Front Page - Kieran de­la­m­ont

Eight peo­ple die ev­ery day in Canada from opi­oid-re­lated over­doses, with 2,816 deaths in 2016 alone.

Health Canada re­leased up­dated num­bers today that il­lus­trate a wors­en­ing over­dose cri­sis in Canada.

In June, Health Canada re­leased a statis­tic that es­ti­mated that 2,458 peo­ple had died in 2016 due to drug over­doses.

On Thurs­day, Chief Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer of Health Theresa Tam con­firmed what harm re­duc­tion work­ers have pri­vately known about that 2,458 fig­ure: it was far too low.

“Sadly, the to­tal num­ber of deaths re­lated to opi­oid over­dose have been ad­justed up­wards,” said Tam.

Those num­bers are likely still too low, as Health Canada ac­knowl­edged that the data for Que­bec is ex­pected to rise as more data be­comes avail­able.

“We rec­og­nize this is a tragic sit­u­a­tion that is hap­pen­ing from coast to coast to coast,” said Health Min­is­ter Ginette Petit­pas Tay­lor

“We are fac­ing a se­ri­ous epi­demic, and this epi­demic is get­ting worse,” said Suzy Mcdon­ald, as­sis­tant deputy min­is­ter on the gov­ern­ment’s opi­oid re­sponse team.

While the data re­flects re­gional dis­par­i­ties in sever­ity — with BC and Al­berta hit the hard­est thus far — Tam said that “no area of Canada is nec­es­sar­ily safe from this cri­sis.”

“If we look at the rates them­selves, the prairie re­gions and On­tario are in that next tranche,” she said.

METRO KIERAN DE­LA­M­ONT/

Ac­tivists from Ot­tawa’s harm re­duc­tion com­mu­nity put up a vigil for those who have died of over­doses in the city.

Metro | Ot­tawa

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