Pubdate: Sat, 27 May 2017
Source: Daily Press, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Sun Media
Page: A4


It seems we're finally coming to grips with the opioid crisis. Not in
the sense that we're able to prevent it or roll it back,

But now the data needed to conduct the fight is becoming available.
It's not perfect, but it is a huge - and positive - step.

Where we've been reactive, we'll now be able to be proactive. Or at
least more proactive than we have been, watching as the wave of death
rolls across Canada.

In addition to the information that's out there, and the efforts to
fight opioid overdoses, we shouldn't lose sight of the importance of
actually getting people off drugs.

Keeping people alive and stopping lethal overdoses is

But so too are lowering the rates of usage and drug

Ottawa Public health is now releasing near real-time data on

The April overdose numbers, which come from the statistics gathered by
local hospitals and information from the paramedics, show that 108
people were treated in hospital for overdoses.

That's part of the more than 400 emergency room visits so far in

We know that 19 patients received doses of naloxone, which can arrest
an opioid overdose from deadly drugs like fentanyl, from paramedics.

This is valuable information. these are scary numbers.

Without the data, it becomes hard to, say, stock ambulances with the
appropriate amount of antidote.

This lets us see, not quite in perfectly up-to-date numbers, what the
trends are and respond accordingly.

It's not perfect. especially because some of this information covers
general Od stats, not just for opioids. this sort of information
leaves a lot to be desired.

But it's better than what the liberal government's giving us - data
that establishes long-term trend lines, but that's operating six
months to a year behind.

No doubt that's useful, but as close to real-time updates as possible
are an excellent weapon at our disposal.

Given the deaths each year - there were 48 unintentional overdose
deaths in Ottawa in 2015 - something must be done. Progress, clearly,
is being made, with emergency workers carrying naloxone and awareness
about the danger of drugs spreading.

A true fix to this problem, though, involves getting dangerous drugs
off the streets and getting people off drugs.

We know how bad this can be. all that's left now is to push back,
raise awareness and try and halt this crisis.
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