Opioid Overdose Prevention and Response in Canada

Accidental Opioid overdose deaths must be taken seriously.   The rate in Canada is at an utterly unacceptable level, but it took Andre Picard, in the Globe & Mail (14 April 2014), to call it what it is: "an overdose pandemic".

"The people using and abusing opioids (and dying as a result) are not all stereotypical ‘junkies' shooting up in alleys. They are also grandmothers who take too many painkillers, labourers who get addicted after treatment for a back injury, teenagers who raid their parents' medicine cabinet, kids who mistake pills for candy and recreational users who can be anyone from Bay Street brokers to squeegee kids."

Opioids, the class of drug that is potentially the most lethal, include illicit drugs such as heroin and a full range of common prescription painkiller drugs including OxyContin, Codeine, Percocet, Fentanyl and Oxycodone.

Here is a report prepared by the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition which describes the problem in detail and presents some solutions.

Give it a careful read and work to address accidental drug overdose in your community ... and nationallly.



February 9, 2017 - 5:08pm

I Take issue with the media's presentation of the Epidemic. It is made to appear as though most users of fentanyl originate with opioid prescription use and abuse. The reality on the street is many Over doses occur unwittingly as it is laced in many other drugs including marijuana. I have had users ask me what colour the Fentanyl pill is so as to avoid. The information is not filtering down to street level where it is needed. The most informative documentary I have seen is CBC's UNSTOPPABLE: the Fentanyl Epidemic. It gives a clear visual of how Fentanyl is laced with other drugs including marijuana and how one dose may be a so called high and the very next, a lethal dose. It's a gamble for most not a choice and that's what the media is missing and the street users are not getting the message. This documentary should be viewed in High Schools before the situation arises but it seems that School Boards think it is inappropriate as it demonstrates that punching 'Fentanyl' into Google will show students how simple it is to 'mail order' the powder from China for themselves. Really, students are not stupid and knowledge is powerful.