Health minister says legislative changes coming to 'turn the tide' in opioid crisis
Canada's health minister says legislative changes are coming within the next few months to help address this country's deadly opioid crisis.
Jane Philpott said she's been talking to her colleagues in the public safety, foreign affairs and justice departments on the issue, and "a number" of pieces of legislation are coming to help "turn the tide on this crisis."
Philpott and Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins, both doctors themselves, convened a two-day meeting in Ottawa to tackle the issue with provincial health ministers, addiction experts and affected families. It finished Saturday morning.
Out of the summit came a signed a joint-statement to address the crisis, including a promise by Health Canada to look at changing the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to improve access to safe injection sites.
"We are fighting against a very worrisome trend and we're not going to get to zero deaths immediately. What we're going to need to do is flatten that curve as quickly as we possibly can and move it down rapidly so people are not dying at the rate they are now," Philpott said.
"We are working toward the appropriate amendments that will be necessary to ensure that supervised consumption sites in communities that want and need them will be available."
With calls to increase border security and stop the flow of illegal fentanyl from China, Philpott says new legislation would involve multiple departments.
"This will take the whole of government, the whole of society" to tackle, Philpott said at the closing news conference.
Health Canada will also issue new prescribing guidelines to doctors in January and increase access to suboxone, a substitute painkiller, in First Nation communities.
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