Latest Data Shows Opioid-Related Deaths Continue to Increase


Ontario Moving Quickly to Expand Life-Saving Overdose Prevention Programs

Ontario is expanding access to addiction and harm reduction services across the province, as the latest data shows that opioid-related deaths continue to rise.

There were 1,053 opioid-related deaths in Ontario from January to October 2017, compared with 694 during the same time period in 2016 — this represents a 52 per cent increase. From January to December 2017, there were 7,658 emergency department visits related to opioid overdoses, compared with 4,453 during the same time period in 2016 — this represents a 72 per cent increase.

To help combat the crisis, more than 85 mental health and addiction providers across the province are enhancing treatment services and supports for opioid use disorder. Twelve of these providers are supporting targeted supports for youth. Over 20 providers are investing in withdrawal management services in Ontario. More than 30 communities will also benefit from new or expanded Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) clinics. In addition, up to 40 providers are hiring new front-line health and social service workers to provide counselling, case management and other supports.

Since the new overdose prevention site program began in January, four sites have been approved, with the first site now open in London, Ontario. Supervised injection services, which offer referrals and access to primary care, social services and addiction and mental health treatment, also continue to be expanded. Both services provide easy-to-access lifesaving supports in a stigma-free environment as well as harm reduction supports.

Other initiatives rolling out as part of Ontario’s Strategy to Prevent Opioid Addiction and Overdose include:

Releasing, in collaboration with Health Quality Ontario, three new opioid-related quality standards that are based on evidence and developed with clinical experts and people with lived experience. These standards outline the improved prescribing of opioids for short-term acute and long-term chronic pain, and how to identify and provide the best care for people with an opioid use disorder.

Making easy-to-use nasal spray naloxone kits available for free at participating pharmacies, giving people the choice between nasal spray or the injectable kits that have already been available.

Expanding public education to ensure people have information on how to access free naloxone and how it can be used to temporarily reverse an opioid overdose, including providing pharmacies with posters and brochures with information about prescription opioids, how to use them safely and potential risks.

Ontario has approved nearly $7 million in funding for seven supervised injection services. Five of these sites (three in Toronto and two in Ottawa) opened between August 2017 and February 2018. The province continues to accept applications.

Overdose prevention sites provide core harm reduction supports and services such as supervised injection and access to harm reduction supplies and naloxone.

On February 12, 2018, the first Overdose Prevention Site (OPS) opened in London, Ontario. The province continues to accept applications.

Health Quality Ontario and the Council of Academic Hospitals are helping to support the provincial rollout of the Rapid Access Addiction Medicine model, with funding from the province.

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.


  1. Addiction is the sore underbelly of capitalism
    And believing people can have a happy life living in poverty

    Unfortunatly one escape from misery is over use of any mind altering substance

    More parks, etc will not change a thing

    good paying jobs ,

    Meaningfull work

    Aforadble housing

    Education/apprentiship opertunities

    Need to be addressed so soulutions can be found and implemented that reduce the cause social ills surounding addiction

    This is by no means an easy task

    To lay blame to any stakeholder in society is just plain wrong and will not change the status quo

    It is Not someone else problem

    Its all our problem

    One day it may be you, your family or your friend

    We all need to be active and collectively as a just society we need to give hand ups , compassion and love to thoses who have fallen in their path

    It can be done

    Believe it

    Acchieve it

  2. Drugs are a choice.
    Any person addict to a substance that generates a physical or psychical dependency can be clean in less than two weeks.
    Anyone can ask a physician, it’s far harder to quit smoking than cocaine, heroine and even opioides.
    When you blame city council, the mayor, even the hospital staff, for any overdoses that occur, it’s like blaming your doctor when you are diagnosed with cancer.
    We have to be realistic here, there is a generation that is lost and we should be working to save those that would like to be saved and deliver the best education for the future generations.
    Addicts must be aware for this time of what’s going on and so the drug dealers, if you’re on the street pushing drugs to make a living and you cut it with the wrong crap, you know what’s gonna happen.
    Addicts know that there are resources available to them and everyone is welcome to join a detox program.
    Now, if you have an argument that changing the Government will solve the problem… you’re wrong.

    • “Any person addict to a substance that generates a physical or psychical dependency can be clean in less than two weeks.”

      B.S. This might apply to a very, very, VERY small number of people, who have only been addicted for an extremely short time.
      A 90 day stay at a rehab with professional staff doesn’t even work 2/3 of the time so your two week time frame is not realistic, at all.

      • No Ted, that’s scientific, the withdraw symptoms or consequences will last for about 72 hours. Will start six hours after your last fix and will continue rising to a point where the symptoms are extreme, then will decrease. The problem is that the addict has to be clean, in a clean environment and with support, professional support. But if the addict continues interacting with the same people the recovery will have a ten percent chance of success. Opioids could last in the organism till 90 days, but do not get confused, that has nothing to do with withdraw, your dependency from the drugs is in your brain. Usually the one pushing drugs on the street is the one telling the addict that no one can cut it clean… cold turkey. That’s not true, you can quit cold turkey, but you will have to become another person. You can quit and keep doing the same life style, like the smoker, you crave the cigarette when you have a coffee, when you shoot the breeze with friends, after supper and so on… but if you go to the library and stay there, reading or using the computer of any other activity, then you go to the mall or any other enclose facility where no one can smoke… a gym perhaps… you’ll help yourself with the craving. The rest is in your mind.

  3. Here is a reminder for Shoemaker of what happens at that park:

    The drugged out maniac (seen in story below) walked up to an innocent boy playing in that park and punched him in the back of the head completely unprovoked! The two adults that came to his rescue could have lost their lives. The boy still feels guilty, and he should have no guilt!!! It wasn’t his fault, but kids don’t understand, he just knows two people got stabbed helping him, and feels somehow responsible. What he doesn’t realize is it was far better the adults took those stabs than him.
    Poor kid.

    BUT, kids live in Jamestown, lots of them. It isn’t their fault, they didn’t choose to live here, this is where there parent(s) could find affordable housing, the kids in Jtown deserve better, but instead of a bigger open air park that leaves them vulnerable (as the stories above attest to) they need a neighbourhood safe hub. Boston Ave has one, the housing complex on 2nd line has one, why don’t the kids in Jamestown have one?? They need it more than any other area in town in my opinion.

    The soup kitchen is right near that park, and unfortunately some that utilize the soup kitchen are not from the area but are unsavory characters, child predators, or have past convictions for crimes against children, police have been called several times when a known predator is spotted at the soup kitchen, but unfortunately they paid their debt to society for their sick crimes and can’t be denied use of the soup kitchen. So people in the hood have to take it into their own hands, when a known child predator is spotted in Jtown, that news sweeps around the hood so fast leaving all the adults on alert for the kids protection. The park in just steps from the soup kitchen. Don’t expand the park- Move it the hell away from the soup kitchen. There is a big empty lot on Allen and Cathcart, put some soccer nets, work out equip like at the water front, basketball nets, give them a place to play away from the deviants.

    • That’s a sad story Rachelle. I think it’s time for the community as a whole to come together and start marching on Queen Street and around the Court House demanding Justice.

      Not revenge, neither vengeance, but Justice for the victims.

      The community must express it’s fear and the authorities must jump on the wagon. They can’t seat on the fence anymore.

      • Yes Super Duper, it is very sad and it was traumatizing…for me! And I’m no kid.
        I just happened to be walking by when it happened. Like I said, all adults walking by that park are in scan mode looking for adults lurking, we see one, we walk up and confront them. If none of the kids in the park are theirs, they need to leave the area. Police have had to come a couple of times and ‘give some a ride outta Jtown’ …but they come back. If a guy is at the bus stop (literally 10 paces from that park) and the bus goes by and they *don’t* get on the bus. They will be confronted. A lot of well off people in this city have no idea how the other half lives.
        A couple of winters ago we got a bunch of kids together to play a game of street hockey and 3 adults had to also play – because the kids had never played street hockey before|!!
        They didn’t even know to yell ‘car’ and move out of the way when a car was coming!! They had no idea. so two more adults went out to stand at each end on car alert. lol.
        Once the kids were prompted enough times to yell car and head for the snow banks- they had a blast! But it was the first time they had ever played street hockey in the Soo. How sad.
        I grew up in my nice east end bungalow, spoiled, all the boys had expensive equipment and real nets and backyard rinks, and dreams of the NHL.
        More people need to realize that not all kids experience ‘that’ Soo when growing up here.

  4. Not hard to see why, it’s very east to get pretty much any drug you want within 15 minutes. Cocaine, crack, heroin, speed, meth, fentanyl, carfentanil, morphine, oxy. It is everywhere.
    Shoemaker’s answer is to build a couple of new parks for the junkies to go get high in, which he was dead set against until there was an election approaching. It’s time for an entire new city council, AND mayor.

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