Brief: MP Wayne Stetski demands immediate action on the opioid crisis

According to statistics more than 2,000 Canadians died from opioid overdose in the first half of 2018 alone.

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Kootenay–Columbia MP Wayne Stetski (NDP). Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer file photo

The opioid crisis continues to bring tragedy with more than 2,000 Canadians dying from overdose in the first half of 2018. According to the Public Health Agency in Canada 754 of those overdose deaths occurred in BC. While numbers for Revelstoke are unavailable, the Canadian Institute for Health Information indicates Kelowna currently has the highest rate of hospitalization for opioid intoxication.

The continued impact of the opioid crisis has led to the NDP calling on the liberal government for a federal declaration of a national public health emergency. In a statement, Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski said New Democrats are urging Trudeau’s government to commit significant new dollars and resources to combat what is inarguably a deepening, serious 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,” said Stetski . “From downtown neighbourhoods to our most remote areas, few communities have been untouched by these highly addictive and dangerous drugs.”

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. Canada’s New Democrats agree, said Stetski.

“The Liberals claim to be doing everything in their power to address the opioid crisis, and yet, that’s clearly not true,” added Stetski. “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.”