Opioid overdoses killed 8 Canadians a day in 2016: minister

September 14, 2017

An average of nearly eight Canadians per day died last year from opioid overdoses, mostly involving the potent drug fentanyl, and the crisis has since deepened, the government said Thursday.

More than half of the total 2,800 deaths in 2016 occurred in westernmost British Columbia and Alberta provinces.

"We are facing a very serious crisis," Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor told a press conference.

"All levels of government must be ready to act" to deal with this "tragic situation," she added.

In the first three months of 2017, more than 600 people were reported to have died from overdoses, and authorities estimate the number will rise to at least 3,000 by year's end.

Street drugs have been found laced with pharmaceutical opioids such as Oxycodone, which are widely prescribed painkillers in North America, as well as fentanyl—which is used to treat severe pain, and is up to 100 times more potent than morphine.

Fentanyl-related deaths doubled over the past year, and the government said in eight out of 10 cases the deaths were linked to opioids mixed with other drugs.

"This shows the complexity of the problem we are facing," Petitpas Taylor said.

A few blocks from the homeless shelter where she spoke, a temporary supervised injection site was set up this week by volunteers operating outside the government-run system.

Inside a tent, volunteers doling out syringes and naloxone (used to treat overdoses) cited an urgent need for more to be done.

Ottawa earmarked Can$7.5 million ($6.2 million) to deal with what officials earlier this year labeled a national public health crisis.

Explore further: Canada province declares fentanyl overdoses a public health emergency

Related Stories

Canada province declares fentanyl overdoses a public health emergency

April 15, 2016
A spike in the number of fentanyl overdose deaths in Canada's westernmost British Columbia province has prompted authorities to declare a public health emergency.

Fentanyl drives rise in opioid-linked deaths in U.S.

August 31, 2017
(HealthDay)—Fentanyl, a synthetic narcotic, is a key player in America's continuing epidemic of opioid-related overdose deaths, two new studies report.

Canada opioid deaths reach new monthly high

December 19, 2016
Deaths from drug overdoses in November hit a new high in Canada's British Columbia province, epicenter of a raging national opioid crisis, health officials said on Monday.

Opioid abuse in Canada a 'national health emergency': minister

November 18, 2016
Deaths from opiate overdoses in Canada have become a "public health crisis" that could prompt the government to declare a national health emergency, the Canadian Health Minister said Friday.

Canada opioid crisis leads to more organ transplants

February 18, 2017
A surge in the number of overdose deaths in Canada has led to more organs being available for transplant, an official at the epicenter of the opioid crisis said Friday.

US drug overdose deaths soar in 2016: report

June 6, 2017
US drug overdose deaths surged 19 percent to at least 59,000 last year as deadly manufactured drugs like fentanyl intensified a national opioid addiction crisis, New York Times data showed Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Vaccinating against psoriasis, allergies and Alzheimer's a possibility, research shows

October 23, 2017
Research from the Universities of Dundee and Oxford has shown how combining the tetanus vaccine with a viral particle that normally affects cucumbers can be used to treat psoriasis and allergies, and may even protect against ...

Fighting opioid addiction in primary care—new study shows it's possible

October 18, 2017
For many of the 2 million Americans addicted to opioids, getting good treatment and getting off prescription painkillers or heroin may seem like a far-off dream.

With no morphine, 25 million die in pain each year: report

October 13, 2017
Every year, some 25 million people—one in ten of them children—die in serious pain that could have been alleviated with morphine at just a few cents per dose, researchers said Friday.

Study finds few restrictions on Rx opioids through Medicare

October 9, 2017
Medicare plans place few restrictions on the coverage of prescription opioids, despite federal guidelines recommending such restrictions, a new Yale study finds. The research results highlight an untapped opportunity for ...

Nocebo effect: Does a drug's high price tag cause its own side effects?

October 5, 2017
Pricey drugs may make people more vulnerable to perceiving side effects, a new study suggests—and the phenomenon is not just "in their heads."

Pre-packaged brand version of compounded medication to prevent preterm births costs 5,000 percent more

October 2, 2017
Preventing a preterm birth could cost as little as $200 or as much as $20,000, depending on which one of two medications a doctor orders, according to a new analysis from Harvard Medical School.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

BubbaNicholson
1 / 5 (1) Sep 15, 2017
250mg of healthy adult male facial skin surface lipid pheromone taken by mouth cures opioid addiction. Beware the vapors, take extreme precautions.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.