|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.