June 24th, 2022
While the Liberals refuse to act, the toxic drug crisis is costing even more lives
NDP mental health and harm reduction critic Gord Johns made the following statement:
“Today, the latest data on opioid and stimulant-related harms in Canada was released – and the findings were devastating. During the pandemic, there was a 96 per cent increase in drug-related deaths – over seventy-five hundred Canadians lost their lives in 2021. And alarmingly, updated modelling from the Public Health Agency of Canada predicts this crisis may continue to get worse over the second half of this year.
With the data lagging six months behind, it’s almost certain Canada has now surpassed 30,000 lives lost to the toxic drug crisis since January 2016. That’s 30,000 families that will never be the same and sadly the number continues to grow every day.
Despite this tragic amount of loss, the Liberals have yet to declare a public health emergency and continue to drag their feet rather than take the urgent action that’s required to save lives. It could not be more clear that Canada must make significant investments in education and prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery services.
Earlier this month, the Liberals accepted British Columbia’s request to decriminalize personal possession of controlled substances, but refused to support the NDP's proposal to do this nation-wide. The Liberals have chosen to take a piecemeal approach to this national crisis–this is irresponsible and unacceptable.
New Democrats followed the advice of the government’s own experts and proposed a health-based plan to fight this crisis but the Liberals and Conservatives teamed up to vote against listening to the evidence and saving lives."