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Local MP Joins the Call to Declare Opioid Crisis a National Public Health Emergency

A local MP is echoing the BC Health Minister s plea for the federal government to declare the opioid crisis a National Public Health Emergency

Cathy McLeod is the MP for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo.

“We’ve been worried about this issue now for many, many months now and feel really that the Federal government is moving too slowly on it. Certainly in our riding and my colleague’s-Dianne Watts who used to be the Mayor of Surrey, we’re seeing first hand the devastation and we’re not certain the rest of the country really understands.”

McLeod says that although BC s Public Health Officer had declared a Public Health Emergency back in April 2016, the first piece of federal legislation targeting the epidemic was not tabled in the House of Commons until December 12, 2016.

She says that herself and Watts are also calling on Health Minister Jane Philpott to enhance border security measures to stop the flow of fentanyl and carfentanil into Canada, immediately undertake a National Fentanyl and Carfentanil Education Awareness Campaign, and support detox and treatment facilities and mental health.

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McLeod says that although there is a role for safe injection sites for some communities, she would like to see some information when it comes to her region

“What I haven’t heard in terms in of Kamloops is how many of the deaths are related from ingestion of a pill versus how many are related to injection. I think until we analyze the problem of injection versus ingestion, certainly there might be a role but I think there is more work that needs to be done.”

Data from the BC Coroners Service show that a total of 142 persons died as a result of illicit drug use during the month of December, an average of 9 every 2 days.

The deaths bring the provisional numbers for the full year of 2016 to a total of 914, an increase of almost 80% compared to 2015.

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