Pubdate: Sat, 10 Mar 2018
Source: Hamilton Spectator (CN ON)
Copyright: 2018 The Hamilton Spectator
Author: Joanna Frketich
Page: A8


City's fatality rate is now nearly double Ontario average, fuelling
more concern

Opioid-related deaths in Hamilton have soared more than 80 per cent in
one year.

 From January to October, 75 Hamilton residents died from an opioid
overdose in 2017 compared to 41 during the same period the year before.

"Opioids are continuing to have a devastating impact on individuals,
families, and the community," Hamilton's medical officer of health Dr.
Elizabeth Richardson said in a statement Friday. "The sustained trend
of rising opioid related deaths, which are preventable, in Hamilton is
very concerning."

Overdose deaths are rising at a much higher rate in Hamilton shows
data released Wednesday by the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario.
Provincewide, the increase is just over 50 per cent.

"To stem the tide of rising deaths, it is crucial that we continue to
challenge ourselves ... to strengthen our response, deepen our
collaboration, and push ourselves to work together differently,"
Richardson said about all agencies involved.

Hamilton's opioid-related death rate of 13.2 per 100,000 population is
now nearly double the province's 7.4

"As we learn more about the opioid crisis, we continue to enhance our
response," Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of
health said in a statement Wednesday. "By monitoring the data, we are
able to modify our strategy and put our resources where they will help
the most people across the province."

Provincewide, 1,053 Ontarians died from an opioid overdose from
January to October, compared to 694 in the same period in 2016.

The surge in numbers prompted the Ministry of Health to expand
addiction and harm-reduction services across the province, including
extra resources in Hamilton for Good Shepherd Centres, Hamilton Health
Sciences, the city's Alcohol, Drug, and Gambling Services, Mission
Services of Hamilton and St. Joseph's Healthcare.

"These numbers are a stark reminder of why we are putting so much
effort into addressing the opioid crisis on all fronts," Ontario
Health Minister Dr. Helena Jaczek said in a statement Wednesday. "We
are working to save lives, both now and in the long-term, and to help
all people in Ontario affected by this tragedy."

In addition, nasal spray naloxone kits will be now be available for
free at some pharmacies.

"Public Health Services encourages people to ... seek out Naloxone for
themselves and their friends and family members at risk," Richardson
said. "Our harm-reduction staff are working to add more locations in
the community where that is available."

So far, public health has distributed 298 naloxone kits in 2017 that
have been used to save 78 lives. The Aids Network is in the process of
submitting applications to the provincial and federal governments for
a permanent supervised injection site as well as a temporary overdose
prevention site that would act as a stopgap until the long-term site
opens. Both would be located at the network's Effort Square location
at 140 King St. E.

The data released Wednesday shows the opioid crisis is only getting
worse with emergency department visits related to overdoses up by 72
per cent in Ontario in 2017 compared to 2016.
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MAP posted-by: Matt