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Deadly opioid overdoses in Ontario surge throughout COVID-19 pandemic: report

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Ontario’s opioid disaster has worsened dramatically through the pandemic, with the homeless inhabitants and people who had been unemployed accounting for a good portion of deadly overdoses, a brand new report has discovered.

The report launched Wednesday from the Ontario Drug Coverage Analysis Community at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital discovered deadly opioid overdoses had been up greater than 75 per cent after COVID-19 hit in 2020, in comparison with the yr earlier than.

“It’s alarming as a result of these will increase in overdose deaths are persevering with unabated,” stated Tara Gomes, a co-author of the report. “Traditionally we haven’t seen an urgency of motion by governments to deal with this, however we want that.”

Public Well being Ontario, the chief coroner’s workplace and the province’s forensic pathology service contributed to the report that examined opioid deaths in 2019 and 2020.

Learn extra:
Coronavirus: Ontario opioid crisis worsens during pandemic as services for drug users scale back

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The report stated that 2,050 individuals died of opioid overdoses between March 2020 and December final yr, in comparison with 1,162 in the identical time interval in 2019 _ a rise of simply over 75 per cent.

“The COVID 19 pandemic has actually accelerated the speed at which deadly opioid overdoses are occurring throughout the province,” Gomes stated.

“That is partially because of an more and more unpredictable drug provide that’s contaminated and extremely poisonous, but in addition the adjustments in entry to health-care providers, in addition to the locations the place persons are dwelling, and the shortage of assist that folks have now in the neighborhood.”

Fentanyl is having a deadlier impact, in line with the researchers.

“The function of fentanyl as a direct contributor to opioid-related deaths continued to extend through the pandemic, rising to a prevalence of 87 per cent from 75 per cent within the pre-pandemic cohort,” the report stated.

Learn extra:
Study indicates 1 in 20 babies in Ontario exposed to opioids in utero

The most important improve in deadly overdoses was seen amongst these aged 25 to 44, with 1,109 individuals in that cohort dying through the pandemic in contrast with 608 deaths in the identical interval in 2019.

The overwhelming majority of all opioid-related deaths had been unintended, the report stated.

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The opioid disaster has affected marginalized individuals to a far better diploma, Gomes stated.

The report discovered about half of the opioid deaths each earlier than and through the pandemic occurred amongst individuals who had been unemployed on the time they died.

The variety of homeless individuals who died of opioid overdoses greater than doubled through the pandemic to 323 deaths from 135 deaths in the identical interval the yr earlier than.

Learn extra:
Toronto Public Health reports record number of overdose deaths in December, calls for more action

And it seems that among the applications designed to assist the homeless through the pandemic, akin to dwelling in their very own lodge or motel rooms moderately than in shelters, had been dangerous, Gomes stated.

“We noticed comparatively massive shifts within the location of opioid-related deaths through the pandemic amongst individuals experiencing homelessness,” the report stated. “A major improve in opioid-related deaths occurred in inns, motels and inns.”

Gomes stated about three-quarters of individuals die of opioid overdoses alone _ a statistic that has not modified through the pandemic.

A lot of these deaths are preventable, she stated, and having extra assist providers on the inns or a protected area to make use of medication would assist.

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“It reinforces the hazards of drug use if you’re alone and I feel that’s in all probability why we’re seeing such hurt in these inns,” Gomes stated.

The opioid disaster additionally seems to be worsening exterior Ontario’s large cities.

The variety of deaths have practically doubled in rural and medium-sized city centres. Of the province’s 34 public well being models, 15 have seen their opioid deaths double, a lot of it in northern and southwestern Ontario.

Click to play video: 'Health Minister announces $9.5 million funding for opioid crisis in Ontario'

Well being Minister broadcasts $9.5 million funding for opioid disaster in Ontario

Well being Minister broadcasts $9.5 million funding for opioid disaster in Ontario – Sep 18, 2020

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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