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

In most surgery patients, length of opioid prescription, number of refills spell highest risk for misuse

January 17, 2018
The possible link between physicians' opioid prescription patterns and subsequent abuse has occupied the attention of a nation in the throes of an opioid crisis looking for ways to stem what experts have dubbed an epidemic. ...

Patients receive most opioids at the doctor's office, not the ER

January 16, 2018
Around the country, state legislatures and hospitals have tightened emergency room prescribing guidelines for opioids to curb the addiction epidemic, but a new USC study shows that approach diverts attention from the main ...

FDA bans use of opioid-containing cough meds by kids

January 12, 2018
(HealthDay)—Trying to put a dent in the ongoing opioid addiction crisis, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday slapped strict new restrictions on the use of opioid-containing cold and cough products by kids.

Taking ibuprofen for long periods found to alter human testicular physiology

January 9, 2018
A team of researchers from Denmark and France has found that taking regular doses of the pain reliever ibuprofen over a long period of time can lead to a disorder in men called compensated hypogonadism. In their paper published ...

Nearly one-third of Canadians have used opioids: study

January 9, 2018
Nearly one in three Canadians (29 percent) have used "some form of opioids" in the past five years, according to data released Tuesday as widespread fentanyl overdoses continue to kill.

Growing opioid epidemic forcing more children into foster care

January 8, 2018
The opioid epidemic has become so severe it's considered a national public health emergency. Addiction to prescription painkillers, such as oxycodone and morphine, has contributed to a dramatic rise in overdose deaths and ...

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.