As President Donald Trump declares the opioid crisis a national public health emergency in the U.S., the NDP is pushing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to do the same in this country.
Preliminary data gathered by the Public Health Agency of Canada shows there were more than 2,800 opioid-related deaths in 2016. The agency said it expects at least 3,000 Canadians will die from opioid-related overdoses in 2017.
NDP health critic Don Davies, who represents a Vancouver riding, “I have been calling for the Liberal government to declare a national public health emergency under the Emergencies Act for a better part of a year, and they have refused to do that.”
Davies said declaring the opioid crisis a public health emergency would allow government to get money out the door quicker.
It also would allow the government to open up emergency clinics and make legal the pop-up supervised injection sites that are currently operating illegally in Canada.
Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor met with her provincial and territorial counterparts last week in Edmonton where the opioid crisis was a focus. Taylor told reporters Wednesday that the ministers had a good discussion and agreed to work collaboratively to come up with solutions and better access to services.