It’s worse than we thought
Government adds 400 OD deaths to 2016 adjusted tally
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.
Activists from Ottawa’s harm reduction community put up a vigil for those who have died of overdoses in the city.
Metro | Ottawa