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TORONTO — Mike Schreiner released the following statement in response to the Science Table’s brief on the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Opioid-Related Harm in Ontario:

“The government needs to urgently step up and address the opioid crisis that has surged during COVID-19.

The Science Table’s new report is clear: rates of opioid-related harm, particularly fatal overdoses, have increased significantly in Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic.

And it’s marginalized, racialized, and unhoused Ontarians that have sadly suffered the most.

The pandemic has increased stress, social isolation, and mental illness while at the same time limiting access to addiction and harm reduction services.

Ontario needs an all-hands-on-deck approach to tackling this tragic public health crisis that is only getting worse.

That means:

  • Investing in 100,000 affordable homes and 60,000 permanent supportive housing spaces to address the housing affordability and homelessness crisis
  • Immediately removing the arbitrary cap of 21 Consumption and Treatment Services sites
  • Expanding access to safe supply
  • Investing $4 billion over four years in accessible and robust mental health and addictions services”
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