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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Working group formed for Grey Bruce opioid crisis

Regional | by Robyn Garvey  

The Strategy Group wants to engage municipalities across region to support efforts

It’s a call to action in direct response to the growing opioid crisis this region is facing.

The Opioid Strategy group is made up of Public Health and Treatment Services officials as well as family physicians and municipal leaders.

The Strategy Group is now reaching out to municipalities across Grey and Bruce to join in their fight, saying they have an important advocacy role to play.

This includes advocating for funding to address the root causes of addictions and mental health as well a utilizing a “Health in all Policies” approach in municipal and county level policies.

Ellis says municipalities also need to evaluate the level of harm reduction supports their communities have in place such as: sharps disposal, needle exchange services and Naloxone.

Ellis says it is also important that municipalities understand how serious the opioid crisis is and how it serves as an indicator of overall community health.

In Grey Bruce, opioid related ER visits have tripled over the past 14 years.

And while she was unable to give recent stats she can confirm that between 2010 and 2014 there were 9 deaths related to acute fentanyl toxicity in Grey Bruce.

Program Director Addictions Services of Hope Grey Bruce, Dave Roy says Grey Bruce is woefully underfunded and under resourced in addiction treatment services.

There are only 11 full time counsellors and one part time counsellor to offer services for all of Grey-Bruce.

More people in Ontario die from opioid related deaths than motor vehicle deaths or strep pneumonia.

In fact one person dies every 12 hours in Ontario from an opioid overdose and one in 170 deaths in Ontario is now related to opioid use.

One in 8 deaths of young adults (25-34 years) is related to opioids.

Ellis and Roy will be visiting municipal councils throughout Grey and Bruce asking for their help in the matter.

They kicked off their Call to Action municipal tour in Hanover on September 18th.

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