Health experts, doctors and those who’ve lost loved ones to the use of opiods are meeting with politicians in Ottawa today and Saturday.
The summit’s being co-chaired by federal Health Minister Jane Philpott and Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins, both of whom are doctors.
(Christopher Katsarov / Canadian Press)
In hopes of reducing the use of opiods that include prescription painkillers such as oxycodone, fentanyl and morphine, Philpott says there’s no question Canada’s facing a national crisis and that Ottawa will consider declaring the situation a public health emergency if it’s determined to be appropriate and helpful.
B.C. already declared a public health emergency last spring.
Hoskins says by working to develop a national response to this crisis lives can be saved, adding the increase in the use of opiods ”frightens me to my core.”
The head of pharmacology and toxicology at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Dr. David Juurlink, says the problem is so dire it demands an urgent response at the highest levels of government.
Canada has the world’s second-highest per capita consumption of prescription opiods.
Philpott points out in some parts of the country drug overdoses are claiming more lives than car crashes.
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