Opioid‑related harms have reached crisis proportions in many countries, including Canada. Almost 23,000 Canadians died due to apparent opioid toxicity between January 2016 and March 2021. Many other people faced life‑threatening medical emergencies or other harms. These harms have been linked to many causes, including opioid‑prescribing practices and the presence of very potent opioids such as fentanyl and fentanyl analogues in the drug supply. The COVID‑19 pandemic has further worsened outcomes. The opioid crisis has touched Canadians from all walks of life, although it has not done so equally: people with certain identities, including men and Indigenous people, have been disproportionately harmed. In response to the crisis, the federal government has made investments and launched a variety of initiatives. Parliament has also addressed the issue by enacting legislation and proposing a range of other measures.
Read the full text of the HillStudy: The Opioid Crisis in Canada
Author: Laura Hatt, Library of Parliament