Member of the Standing Committee on Health and Member of Parliament for Brampton South gathers community leaders to tackle growing public health issue in Peel region
March 14, 2017 – BRAMPTON, ONTARIO
On September 22, 2016, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health adopted a motion to undertake an “emergency study” of the opioid crisis in Canada. Member of Parliament for Brampton South, Sonia Sidhu, is a member of the committee and enthusiastically engaged in creating a report to help shape the Minister of Health’s actions in response to the growing public health crisis, which has tragically taken hundreds of Canadians’ lives. Today, she invited a range of representatives to join her for a roundtable at the Flower City Lawn Bowling Community Room to discuss the local response in Brampton, and all of Peel Region.
“While we may think that deaths due to opioids abuse only happens in Alberta or BC, it was recently reported by Peel Regional Police that 37 people have died of fentanyl in our own community,” commented MP Sidhu. “These statistics of growing death rates here in our community is concerning, and we must work together at all levels to respond to this. I was pleased that so many answered the call to participate in this roundtable today.”
Participants came from the federal, provincial, and municipal governments, as well as Peel Public Health, not-for-profit organizations, first responders units, and others invested in the issue. Each provided an update on their organization’s response to the situation and the measures they are taking to save lives. The meeting was framed as not being about laying blame, but rather about collaborating to proactively prevent future deaths.
“This is a positive, proactive, first-step that we are taking together to reassure all those concerned in Peel region that we will work to prevent deaths using an evidence-based, collaborative approach,” remarked MP Sidhu in her opening comments. “I have been honoured to work with my colleagues in Ottawa and the Minister of Health on this, but I’m even more pleased to be working with everyone in this room on this issue here in our community.”
The meeting lasted 2 hours, and included an open discussion portion after the presentations portion, in order to come up with collaborative, local recommendations to move forward. MP Sidhu will be formulating a report to provide to the federal and provincial Ministers of Health on the proactive approach being taken in Peel region.
Quick Facts On The Opioids Crisis
- Canadians are the second highest per capita users of prescription opioid drugs in the world; available data show an overall increase in deaths related to all opioids over time.
- In British Columbia between January 1st and June 30th 2016, the total number of deaths from illicit drug overdoses was 371, an increase of 74.2% from the same time period last year.
- In 2015 there were 274 overdose deaths in Alberta in which fentanyl was detected (more than double the number in 2014).
- In Canada’s largest city, Toronto, 206 people died of an overdose in 2013, a 41% increase from 2004.
Federal Response To The Opioids Crisis
- Minister Philpott took immediate and concrete steps by implementing a 5-point action plan to address opioid misuse
- Better informing Canadians about the risks of opioids;
- Supporting better prescribing practices;
- Reducing easy access to unnecessary opioids;
- Supporting better treatment options for patients; and,
- Improving the evidence base.
- Minister Philpott and the Government of Canada subsequently:
- made the overdose antidote naloxone more widely available in Canada;
- scheduled W-18 under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act;
- supported Bill C-224, the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act;
- scheduled precursors to fentanyl in the Criminal Code;
- worked directly with First Nations leadership and communities to enhance access to addictions supports;
- invested $13.5 million over five years to enhance prevention and treatment services to address prescription drug abuse in First Nations communities across Canada.
- Last Fall, the Minister of Health co-hosted a conference and summit on opioids that resulted in 42 organizations bringing forward concrete proposals of their own.
- The Minister of Health introduced Bill C-37 in December 2016. It is now with the Senate for approval.
For more information:
Office of Sonia Sidhu, M.P.