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Opioid Crisis: Canada Takes a Stand with New Strategy

Opioid Crisis: Canada Takes a Stand with New Strategy
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Opioid Crisis: Canada Takes a Stand with New Strategy

Over the next five years, the Government of Canada announced a 65 million dollar spend to respond to the opioid crisis nationally and put an Opioid Action Plan together.

This plan will aim to help those affected and addicted to opioids across Canada, and hopefully mitigate fewer overdoses leading to death through treatment and drug testing.

As reported by The National Post, “In the first six months of 2016, 412 Ontarians died of opioid overdoses — an 11 percent increase from the previous year. That is currently the most recent provincial data available on opioid deaths.”

“The Government of Canada has been building a new approach to drug policy by working collaboratively with communities, provinces, territories and key stakeholders, including addictions experts, the medical community, first responders, Indigenous groups, government and non-governmental organizations, as well as Canadians with lived experience,” according to Health Canada.

What is an Opioid?

Opioids are pain-relieving drugs that act on the nervous system, and can also cause dependence and withdrawal symptoms based on consumption. Some commonly known examples include: OxyContin, Percocet and the more recently overdose crisis with Fentanyl.

Health Canada reported, “A record number of Canadians have died from drug overdoses in 2017, including those involving fentanyl.”

What is the Opioid Crisis?

According to Health Canada, “There is a rapid rise in rates of drug overdoses and death involving both prescription opioids and increasingly toxic illegal drugs due to the increased presence of powerful illegal substances, such as fentanyl, a drug 50-100 times more potent than morphine.”

The opioid crisis and opioid overdoses have an impact on our society and should be addressed in a national and immediate manner.

$65 million is a lot of money! Where is it going?

Health Canada reports the funding proposed for the next five years in Canada could be used towards the following:

  • Increasing national lab testing capacity
  • Developing and implementing a national public awareness campaign
  • Increasing research on problematic substance use
  • Expanding support for First Nations and Inuit communities, such as access to naloxone kits; strengthening national data surveillance and monitoring; and, funding grants and contributions to address various issues that are unique to the opioid crisis.

What is the Government of Canada Proposing for the Opioid Crisis?

There are four pillars in which the government will be tackling the opioid crisis and they will include: Prevention, Treatment, Harm Reduction and Enforcement.

Prevention

The Government of Canada will start with implementing “the Health Portfolio’s Problematic Prescription Drug Use Strategy and improve prescribing practices to better inform Canadians about the risks of opioids. (Source: Canada.ca)

Treatment

Some areas that will be important for treatment include better access for rural and remote First Nations communities while improving access to medication-assisted treatments for opioid use, as well as improving treatment options for pain management. (Source: Canada.ca)

Making sure that the proper treatment and drug testing is done is at every level of the system is crucial to mitigating the increase in overdoses.

Solutions such as naloxone, consultations, product sheets, information on proper testing will help enhance the delivery of patient diagnosis for healthcare practitioners.

What is Naloxone?

Naloxone is a common and extremely effective counter-agent for an opioid overdose. This drug does not require a prescription and is available in both an injection and nasal spray. It works by attaching to the same receptors in the brain as an opioid does, thus blocking the opioid’s effect. Naloxone is generally considered to be safe to use, with no expected side effects. It is also believed to be safe to administer even if there are no opioids present unless the recipient is allergic. (Source: Cupe.ca)

Enforcement  

The Government of Canada will remain diligent to,continue enforcement on the importation and trafficking of illegal opioids, while pursuing legislative, regulatory, policy and programmatic changes to better control substances and equipment, and support education and training for law enforcement.” (Source: Canada.ca)

The Reality

The four pillars that The Government of Canada is proposing will enhance patient treatment, prevent future crises, and improve Canada’s opioid crisis.

Eliminating opioid overdoses may not be a reality overnight, but education, awareness, and treatment centres can help to provide more of an extensive supply of drug screening program to help care for patients.

With the Government of Canada’s support, we can continue to provide more solutions to the opioid crisis in Canada through continued drug testing and treatment.

To learn more about the new treatment and advances in drug testing, visit: http://spectrummdx.com/

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