OTTAWA – Yesterday, the Public Health Agency of Canada published updated data and modelling projections demonstrating the devastating toll the toxic drug crisis continues to have on families and communities across the country.
Between January 2016 and June 2022, 32,632 Canadians have died due to drug poisoning. The data shows that another 4,100 people may lose their lives in the first half of 2023 if urgent action isn’t taken.
“The Liberal government knows it needs to do more to turn the tide on this tragic crisis but continues to drag its feet because of stigma,” said MP Gord Johns, the NDP’s Critic for Mental Health and Harm Reduction. “Just like in June, this devastating new data has been released as Parliament adjourns because the government doesn’t want to answer for its ineffective response that has cost lives.”
Following the release of this new data, Johns wrote to the Auditor General calling for a review of the government’s response to the toxic drug crisis. Since national surveillance began in 2016, opioid-related deaths have risen from an average of eight per day to 20 per day, and up to a million Canadians are at risk of death from drug toxicity.
“Canadians deserve transparency and accountability on the government’s response to this crisis,” said Johns. “Lives are being shattered every day while the government acts in slow motion on a national public health emergency.”