Canada takes aim at opioid crisis

The opioid crisis has spread across Canada, but westernmost British Columbia province, noted Health Minister Jane Philpott, "has been hardest hit."

Canada takes aim at opioid crisis

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Canadian government earmarked a multimillion-dollar package Friday to combat overdose deaths linked to the powerful analgesic fentanyl and try to stop it from being abused for its heroin-like effect.

Of the Can$75 million ($57.3 million) announced for the effort, Can$65 million will go to combat the fentanyl crisis, including better lab testing and toxology, and data collection.

Highly potent and addictive, fentanyl is estimated to be up to 100 times stronger than morphine. Two milligrams of pure fentanyl -- the size of about four grains of salt -- is enough to kill the average adult.

The remaining Can$10 million will be used to bolster British Columbia emergency services.

She pointed to the more than 900 drug overdoses in the province last year, up almost 80 percent from 2015.

Fentanyl accounted for two-thirds of the total. 

"The crisis is also having a big effect in other provinces," Philpott said, noting that in neighboring Alberta, 343 fentanyl-related deaths were reported in 2016.

Last year, Ottawa cracked down on the import of fentanyl and its precursors, removed legal hurdles to opening new supervised injection sites, and distributed thousands of naloxone kits. 

Naloxone quickly counters the effect of most opioids. Philpott said the government wants to start using a nasal spray version.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 18 Şubat 2017, 10:30