Friday, November 11, 2016

Feds prepared to declare national emergency on opioids

The government is prepared to declare a national state of emergency on the opioid overdose crisis Health Minister Jane Philpott said today. “There’s no question this is a national public health crisis,” she told reporters at a national conference.

A formal declaration would give Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Greg Taylor greater independence to take immediate action including a nation-wide reporting regime to better track overdoses.
Keynote speaker Dr. David Juurlink pointed out that the number of overdose deaths across Canada vastly outpaces the toll during the 2003 SARS crisis. “Forty-four people died of SARS, and we lose 70 people a week to opioids in Canada” he said.

A state of emergency lets health authorities take action without having to deal with bureaucrats and politicians. Philpott said her government is moving quickly to improve data-collection, and said legislation is coming to encourage the opening of supervised consumption sites across the country.