On Feb. 20, RNAO nursing leaders – 130 RNs, NPs and nursing students – were at Queen’s Park to talk to the premier, government ministers and MPPs on both sides of the legislature about the 4,500 lives lost in Ontario to opioid overdose between January 2016 and June 2019. It’s an escalating public health crisis. In 2016, on average, two lives were lost per day. In 2017, three. In 2018, four. In 2019, the number rose to five. We implored the province’s elected representatives to do what needs to be done to end this crisis in 2020.
Now, we’re asking you to send the same urgent message to Queen’s Park. Demand that Ontario’s Minister of Health a) expedite the approval process for supervised consumption sites in Ontario, and b) ensure that a supervised consumption site is made available to every community that needs one.
It’s not just about those who have lost their lives. In a letter published in the Toronto Star recently, we urged that we not forget the pain experienced by those who have lost a son, a daughter, a mom or a dad, a friend or a neighbor to this preventable crisis: “A consuming and inextinguishable grief inhabits and haunts the untold thousands more who have lost loved ones.”
Nurses witness and know this grief. RNAO has called repeatedly on all governments to act with the urgency demanded by so much death. We are asking again that you, too, call on government to bring this public health crisis to an end.
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