As the nation faces an intractable opioid crisis, the National Institute of Health (NIH) found that an equivalent of 8 people died each day due to opioid overdoses in 2016. Issues of illicit drug consumption have spiralled as The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) stated that despite medical restrictions to minimize opioid prescriptions, opioid poisoning had continued to increase, with a rate of 17 Canadians hospitalized every day for opioid-related concerns.
Statistics Canada has acknowledged that people from certain groups, including people with lower income, suffering from periods of employment instability, workers within the construction industry, and Indigenous People have suffered the greatest impact as a result of substance dependency.
According to [BC Coroners Service](https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2022PSSG0010-000188#:~:text=The toxic illicit drug supply,said Lisa Lapointe%2C chief coroner.), it is reported that an estimated 2,224 had died due to the consumption of toxic illicit drugs supply.
First responder helping an overdose victim in an alleyway in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/on-cheque-day-a-toxic-mix-of-money-and-drugs-in-vancouvers-downtowneastside/article33462579/
“This public health emergency has impacted families and communities across the province and shows no sign of abating. In 2021 alone, more than 2,200 families experienced the devastating loss of a loved one. In the past seven years, the rate of death due to illicit drug toxicity in our province has risen more than 400%.”
However, as the opioid crisis escalates, not only are the affected groups thrown into the crossfire, but people, such as family, friends, first responders, businesses, and more, are greatly impacted as well.
Zoë Dodd, a member of the Toronto Overdose Prevention Society states that drug criminalization has contributed to the nation’s overdose crisis and the stigmatization that substance users feel. In the interview with tvo today, she states, “We haven’t had a government response, as we should have, for this catastrophe and carnage that we are in. We scapegoat, we blame people. We blame them for using drugs”. Zoë asserts that the all levels of government has yet to take the situation seriously, and without proper response from the government, many lives had been lost, including activists within the community who had fought hard for harm reduction approaches and safe injection sites.
First-Line Responders, source:https://www.saanichnews.com/news/sooke-sets-new-record-for-drug-overdose-calls/
Zoë Dodd on the lost lives of the many activists within the community:
“They are people who worked really hard in the community and so when we lose them, we lose so much. Their families have lost so much, all of us. It has been tremendously heartbreaking. And you have the work force that are working with much grief, not getting the response we need, and they carry that every day they go to work. You don’t get a day off. You’re dealing with the emergency that we’re in”
CBC offers a story from a Calgary firefighter, who has witnessed the substance epidemic expand to the uncontrollable degree that the nation is seeing today. Dan Scheuerman states that he is glad to retire, as “it’s not just the homeless who are affected by this crisis”. In the occupation, while first responders are to treat intoxicated individuals, they are placed in a situation of having to watch multiple suicides, resurrecting life-less bodies, and being involved in constant threats has caused long-term mental tolls on members working on the frontlines.
[Prescription drug use in Canada | Checkup Panel. Source:https://youtu.be/bmI6940KJp0](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmI6940KJp0)
Prescription drug use in Canada | Checkup Panel. Source:https://youtu.be/bmI6940KJp0
Drug use has been on a rise. This has been especially true in the case of Canada as substance users in the general population of age 15+ increased.