More than 12,800 apparent opioid-related deaths have occurred in Canada since January 2016, but it’s not a big federal election issue

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An Oct . 1, 2019 CBC The Current article is entitled: “Fentanyl once thought too ‘risky’ to become a widely used drug, says author: New book looks at origins of fentanyl and how it became deadly part of opioid crisis”

An excerpt reads:

While researching for his book, Westhoff posed as a prospective buyer went undercover to visit a fentanyl lab outside of Shanghai.

“I was expecting to see a sort of underground facility, a seedy place with guys holding AK-47s, guarding the door — but it wasn’t like that at all,” he said.

He described the building as looking just like a regular suburban office park, with a big fountain and a parking lot out front, and no indication what its purpose was.

An Oct. 5, 2019 CBC article is entitled: “Why the opioid crisis isn’t a bigger federal election issue: 12,800 Canadians have died as a result of the opioid crisis since 2016, PHAC says.”

An excerpt reads:

The death toll from the opioid crisis has skyrocketed since the last federal election, but experts and advocates say it should be a bigger election priority.

More than 12,800 apparent opioid-related deaths occurred since January 2016, when the federal government first started tracking the data, and March 2019, according to the latest available statistics from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Last year alone, 4,588 Canadians died from opioids, meaning every two hours a life was lost. Another 1,082 Canadians have died in the first three months of 2019, the most recent time period for which data is available.

“I recognize that governments have a lot of issues to attend to. But when the equivalent of a fully loaded 747 is crashing every five or six weeks and killing everyone aboard in Canada, that sounds like an emergency,” says Dr. David Juurlink, head of clinical pharmacology at the University of Toronto.

“There’s lots more to be done.”

Health officials, harm reduction advocates, policy experts, and drug users have called on the next federal government to take stronger measures to tackle the crisis, such as decriminalizing illegal drugs, declaring a national public health emergency, ensuring a safe opioid supply for users, and expanding supervised injection sites.

Experts say the stigma of drug use and a need to appear tough on crime in the eyes of voters makes the opioid crisis a hard topic for political leaders to address on the campaign trail.

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