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December 11th, 2018

NDP: Immediate Action Needed on the Opioid Crisis

OTTAWA – On Monday, as the opioid crisis claims more lives every day, the NDP called on the Liberal government for a federal declaration of a national public health emergency. New Democrats urged Trudeau’s government to commit significant new dollars and resources to combat what is inarguably a deepening crisis that is affecting every region of the country.

“Across Canada, too many families are tragically losing parents, siblings, and children to the opioid crisis. From downtown neighbourhoods to our most remote areas, no community has been untouched by these highly addictive and dangerous drugs,” said NDP Health Critic Don Davies. “New Democrats have been calling for the declaration of a national public health emergency for over two years. It’s time for the Liberal government to act.”

Research released by the Angus Reid Institute shows that one in eight Canadians – nearly 3.5 million people – have close friends or family members who have become dependent on opioids in the last five years. However, fewer than one in four Canadians believe that the federal government has ‘responded appropriately’ to this issue.
The NDP proposed five actions Trudeau’s Liberal government can take to immediately address the crisis:

  • Declare a national public health emergency;
  • Legalize and fund overdose prevention sites so they have the resources they need;
  • Fund additional resources for treatment so that those struggling from addiction can access treatment on demand;
  • Investigate and hold opioid manufacturers responsible; and
  • Stop criminalizing addiction and instead adopt a health approach, including by looking at the Portuguese model.
“Eleven Canadians die every day from opioid-related causes. This is shocking and unacceptable considering that many of these deaths are preventable. We need to treat this as the health crisis that it is,” added Davies. “The vast majority of Canadians support increasing funds and resources to combat this serious crisis. There are many tools the Liberal government can use to address this crisis - it’s time they do everything in their power to do so.”