Ontario moving to more timely opioid overdose data

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Fentanyl

TORONTO – Ontario’s chief coroner says he is in the final stages of implementing a new way to investigate deaths in an effort to provide more timely data on opioid overdoses in order to better understand the problem in the province.

Dr. Dirk Huyer says more recent data will help health practitioners figure out what to do, but didn’t provide details on the new investigative approach that he says will deliver death data that is months old, rather than years.

The most recent data on Ontario opioid-related deaths is from 2015, when the Office of the Chief Coroner says 548 people died from opioid toxicity.

In British Columbia, the Coroners Service releases monthly reports on overdose deaths.

Police forces and health units across the province recently told The Canadian Press the lack of up-to-date statistics on opioid-related deaths and overdoses have left them struggling to come up with their own methods to track of the deadly opioid fentanyl.

Huyer says he is working to understand the opioid problem in the province with Ontario’s chief medical officer of health in an effort to gather non-lethal overdose data.