Canada’s opioid epidemic is taking its toll on Canadians.
And the province is facing an unprecedented spike in drug overdoses and deaths.
Impotency has been a hot-button issue for several months as the country grapples with a heroin epidemic, and it has become a national priority in the federal government’s response to the crisis.
The province has seen its overdose rates rise from a high of around 4,000 per day in January to more than 5,000 by mid-July, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives said.
That’s about twice the number of overdose deaths that occurred in the same time period in 2016.
More than 4,500 people died in the province in July alone.
“The numbers are staggering,” said Kevin Milligan, executive director of the Canadian Medical Association, which represents doctors and other health care professionals.
“It’s almost impossible to see this through a microscope.
We’re seeing the impact of the opioid epidemic on health care and our lives.”
The numbers of drug-related deaths and overdose deaths have soared in B.C., where a new law aims to combat the scourge of fentanyl.
The B.I. Health Authority has reported that overdose deaths jumped 33 per cent in the past six months, the highest increase in decades.
The province’s opioid deaths rose 27 per cent.
Many provinces have passed measures aimed at curbing the abuse of prescription opioids, but it has not been easy to do so.
In the first half of this year, more than 476,000 people died from opioid-related overdoses in Canada.
That number is expected to climb as the drug is abused and more people are diagnosed with addiction.
The opioid crisis has sparked a national conversation about health and addiction.
In some parts of the country, such as the Great Lakes, people are beginning to wake up to the fact that they are dealing with an epidemic.
In Ontario, where fentanyl-laced pills have been making their way into the province’s drug supply, police have reported a spike in the number and types of fentanyl-related crimes.
In B.E.T., the drug has been making its way into Ontario pharmacies and has also made its way to Canada.
The B.R.O. has said there have been more than 1,300 overdoses in Ontario this year.
A number of other provinces have also seen spikes in overdose deaths, with Ontario’s death rate climbing by double digits.
The provincial government has called for a national task force to tackle the crisis, but some provincial governments are already warning that they might not be able to handle the massive workload.
In Newfoundland, where more than 80 per cent of the province�s overdose deaths occur, health officials are warning people not to buy prescription opioids unless they have tested positive for fentanyl, and to stay home if they do.
Last month, Newfoundland Health Minister Derek Fildebrandt warned people to be cautious if they feel ill, even if they don�t feel like it.
“If you are concerned, call 911,” he said.
For some, the issue is more complicated than just prescription drug use.
For some people, the opioid crisis is also the reason for their addiction.
“This is not just a drug problem, this is an addiction problem,” said James Dang, a former addict who now works as a lawyer.
People often struggle to break free from a habit and the addiction comes along with it.
While some people have tried to quit, others are still struggling with their addiction and continue to use.
Dr. Elizabeth Gail is a social worker at the University of Toronto who specializes in substance abuse.
She said while many people have been helped with substance abuse issues, it is often not enough.
“When people are dealing or are experiencing a difficult situation, they may find it hard to think straight,” Dr. Gail said.
“They may be unable to make decisions and get on with their lives.”
Dr. Gilneson said it is not only addicts who need help.
“There are many people that are living in poverty,” she said.
For some people with drug addictions, the problem is not limited to prescription opioids.
“They may have used methamphetamine, alcohol or cocaine and that’s how they ended up in the addiction,” Dr Gail explained.
“These are the same people that have used a lot of drugs and are also using drugs again.
It’s very challenging for them to manage it.”
Dr Gail says it is important to treat the underlying causes of addiction.
It is important for people with substance use disorders to be supported and be able access help, she said, but not to just stop taking opioids and not seek treatment.
Dr Gilneas said the most common way people with addiction are able to stop using opioids is to go through a substance abuse treatment program.