QUEEN’S PARK – Mike Schreiner, released the following statement for National Addictions Awareness Week.
“The epidemic of opioid deaths has become so entrenched it is easy to forget that the grim statistics reflect a growing wave of human suffering and loss.
Public Health Ontario figures show that harms from opioids have been increasing for more than a decade. Last year, more than 2,800 Ontarians died from opioid-related causes.
We must work together to change this devastating narrative.
During National Addictions Awareness Week, I renew my call to the government to treat substance use as a health issue, not a criminal justice issue and work with the federal government to fast-track decriminalisation of drugs.
As part of a comprehensive harm reduction strategy, we must also increase access to mental health and addictions supports under OHIP, and expand the number of consumption and treatment sites.
It is crucial that Ontario’s healthcare system meets the needs of the whole person, be it mental health or addictions care.”