Province Taking Further Action in Fight Against Opioid Crisis
Ontario is establishing an Opioid Emergency Task Force that will include front-line workers and people with lived experience to strengthen the province’s coordinated response to the opioid crisis.
The Task Force will ensure those closest to the crisis are providing critical insight into what is happening on the ground, to support the province’s coordinated response to the crisis and address new challenges as they emerge.
It will bring together representatives from province-wide system partners working to combat this emergency, including front-line workers in harm reduction, addiction medicine, and community-based mental health and addiction services, among others.
The Task Force will also advise the government on a robust and targeted public education campaign to raise awareness about the risks associated with opioid use and how people can protect themselves and their loved ones against the harms associated with addiction and overdose.
As a first step, Ontario will be providing all public health units in the province with consistent and up-to-date public education materials to support their efforts in local communities to ensure that everyone is receiving the same information regardless of where they live. The province is also working with pharmacists on an insert about the possible health risks of opioids and where patients can access support, which will be provided to patients when they pick up an opioid prescription.
Ontario is increasing access to care, reducing wait times and improving the patient experience through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care and OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare – protecting health care today and into the future.
- Announced in fall 2016, Ontario’s Strategy to Prevent Opioid Addiction and Overdose is ensuring people in pain receive appropriate treatment, increasing access to holistic treatment for those with opioid use disorder, and improving the safety and health of people who use opioids, including access to the life-saving drug naloxone.
- Naloxone kits are distributed for free across Ontario. Find the location nearest you.
- Over the next three years, Ontario is investing more than $222 million to combat the opioid crisis in Ontario, including expanding harm reduction services, hiring more front-line staff and improving access to addictions supports across the province.
- The government has also committed to invest $20 million annually in Ontario’s Chronic Pain Network.
- The province’s 10-year funding agreement with the federal government will also help to support this plan.
“The devastating impact of the opioid crisis has reached every community across the province and our government is committed to using every tool possible to reverse this heartbreaking trend. Through the creation of the Opioid Emergency Task Force, we will ensure that the people directly affected by this devastating public health emergency have a voice and the support they need to live with dignity” — Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
“If we are to make an impact and turn the tide of this opioid crisis, we must work together in an inclusive, compassionate and collaborative way. Establishing the Opioid Emergency Task Force will allow for individuals with varied expertise to come together and contribute to the government’s response and move the strategy forward in a proactive and responsive way.” — Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health and Provincial Overdose Coordinator