The Opioid Crisis in Canada – Some Facts Counter to Conservative Party Claims that CERB is at Fault for Escalating Numbers

The Opioid Crisis in Canada – Some Facts Counter to Conservative Party Claims that CERB is at Fault for Escalating Numbers

Recently in their efforts to misinform Canadians about the support funds that the Liberal Party have spread thru the land, the Conservatives have hitched onto the opioid crisis and it’s effect on Canadians.

Their claim was that giving CERB (the emergency stimulus checks) has somehow escalated the crisis.

As the below info makes clear, it was doing fine on it’s own.

And the CON party also makes assumptions about the demographics of those who misuse/abuse opioids. It seems to be a broad spectrum of racial and socio-economic trends. But the demographic group that would (I can safely presume) not have access to CERB is similar to a placebo group in a drug study. Those in prison who didn’t get the CERB money (again, I presume) had escalating numbers as well. So, yeah CON dufuses trying to make claims where none can be made. See for yourself.


“a death caused by intoxication/toxicity (poisoning) as a result of drug use, where one or more of the drugs involved is an opioid.”

demographics from NIH survey – hospitals and coroners

  • In 2016, there were 2861 apparent opioid-related deaths
    on average, 16 Canadians were hospitalized each day due to opioid-related poisonings in Canada

gen pop

  • British Columbia and Alberta, Yukon and the Northwest Territories. highest
    males; individuals between 30 and 39 years of age (74%) of deaths
  • 82% of apparent opioid-related deaths from January 2016 to June 2017 also involved one or more non-opioid substances.
  • Since the early 1980s, the volume of opioids sold to hospitals and pharmacies for prescriptions in Canada has increased by more than 3000%
  • Canada: the second-largest consumer (USA # 1) of prescription opioids
    more common to misuse a prescription opioid than to use heroin or cocaine
  • Nearly one-third of those who had used an opioid in the past year did not always have a prescription. This proportion increased to almost half in teens younger than 18 years and 88% among persons using illegal drugs
  • Most common source of opioids used without a prescription was a family member.
  • Nationally, in 2015 the prevalence of illicit drug use (“within the previous 12 months”) was 2% (1% females; 3% males). This included use of crack, cocaine, ecstasy, speed or methamphetamines, hallucinogens or heroin and therefore was not specific to opioids
  • Heroin, fentanyl and its analogues, hydromorphone, oxycodone and morphine were the most frequently detected opioids in samples analyzed by DAS.
  • Fentanyl and its analogues (e.g. carfentanil, furanylfentanyl, acetylfentanyl) are becoming more prevalent on the illegal drug market and are increasingly combined with other controlled substances, which increases their potential toxicity and the risk of an overdose.
  • Carfentanil, which is 100 times more powerful than fentanyl, presents another growing concern and has been detected in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario. In 2016/17, DAS tested 91 seized samples of carfentanil: 56% from British Columbia, 17% from Alberta, 19% from Manitoba and 7% from Ontario.
  • British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba showed that the majority of opioid-related overdose deaths occurred indoors, in private residences, in larger urban centres, though many deaths also occurred on the periphery of these urban centres and in a large number of smaller communities as well. In Alberta and Ontario, those who died tended to reside in lowerto middle-income neighbourhoods; however, deaths occurred in neighbourhoods across all socioeconomic groups.
  • In Manitoba, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner found the most frequently prescribed medications, six months prior to an apparent opioid-related death, were an opioid (60%), an antidepressant (52%) and a benzodiazepine (47%).
  • In Alberta, opioid-related overdose involving an opioid other than fentanyl were nearly twice as likely to have accessed a (listed) health care service (77% vs. 41%),16 or to have been dispensed an opioid (66% vs. 23%) or antidepressant (38% vs. 14%) from a community pharmacy in the 30 days prior to their death.

…..First Nations

  • First Nations’ populations across the country are heavily impacted by high rates of problematic substance use.
  • First Nations people were five times more likely than their non–First Nations counterparts to experience an opioid- related overdose event and three times more likely to die from an opioid-related overdose.
  • First Nations men and women were almost equally likely to experience an opioid-related overdose event.
  • First Nations women (aged 50 to 54 years) represented a higher proportion of all opioidrelated deaths. First Nations men were younger (30 to 34 years)


  • Homeless populations are also at risk of opioid-related harms.
  • Unstable housing (i.e. no fixed address or unknown address) was reported by approximately 30% of those presenting for a known or suspected overdose, and by almost 50% of young people aged 13 to 18 years.


in provincial and territorial prisons and federal penitentiaries.

2017 – self report survey of Opioid Pain Relievers

  • Of the three classes of psychoactive pharmaceuticals, opioid pain relievers were the most used with 12% (3.5 million) of Canadians aged 15 years and older reporting having used such a drug in the past year, unchanged from 2015 (13% or 3.8 million). * There was no difference in the prevalence of past-year opioid pain reliever use between females (12% or 1.8 million) and males (11% or 1.6 million) and both were unchanged from 2015 (14% or 2 million and 12% or 1.7 million, respectively).
  • Among the 12% of Canadians who used opioid pain relievers in the past year, 3% (100,000) reported problematic use of them. Among all Canadians aged 15 and older, the prevalence of problematic use of opioids was not reportable due to small sample size. The prevalence of problematic use of opioids was also not reportable for females, for young adults aged 20 to 24 and for adults aged 25 years and older in the overall population due to small sample size.
    Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CTADS)

Lancet – 2018

The current opioid mortality crisis constitutes a much greater challenge than the crisis of the early 1990s, because it involves a vastly larger population at risk and the availability of more hazardous drugs.Lancet med journal 2018

map of opioid deaths in Canada – 2019

govt of Canada map Ontario current highest known just prior to the pandemic.

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