The issue

For over a decade, Canadians have been dying at an increasing rate from opioid overdoses. Between January 2016 and December 2021, nearly 30,000 Canadians died from an opioid overdose. Ontario is not immune to this tragedy. Within the first nine months of 2021, 2167 people died from an opioid-related overdose in the province - an average of 8 people per day. A contaminated and toxic illicit drug supply is a major driver of the opioid overdose crisis — with fentanyl contributing to 85.9% of deaths in 2020.

Evidence shows that the number of overdose deaths has risen dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic due to a myriad of factors. Rates are disproportionately high in communities with greater ethno-cultural diversity. RNAO continues to advocate for a harm reduction approach that respects basic human dignity and the rights of people who use substances.

What the evidence says
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Take action

Action Alert
End the overdose crisis, premier
Call on Premier Ford to save lives by bringing an end to the overdose crisis.
Action Alert
Sound the alarm on surging opioid overdose deaths
The COVID-19 pandemic has deepened our province’s opioid overdose crisis.
RNAO Mental Health and Addiction Best Practices Program
The need for increased mental health and addiction supports – in an already fragile healthcare system in crisis – has never been clearer. Nurses are at the forefront of the system providing mental health supports to people in need of care and healing.

Social media

Get involved. Use the following hashtags on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to participate in the ongoing dialogue: #OpioidOverdose, #OpioidCrisis, #HarmReduction, #SaferSupply and #QPOR.

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Opioid overdose policy documents

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controlled drugs
New regulations under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act  

RNAO called on the federal government in our October 2020 submission to ensure people who use substances have the supports they need to reduce health and social harms, and remain safe. This includes increasing access to supervised consumption sites and services and working with provinces/territories to provide greater access to life-saving supervised consumption services
LEARN MORE

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woman elearning
E-Learning: engaging clients who use substances

Learn about the foundational concepts and evidence-based practice approaches for engaging clients who use substances.

COMPLETE THE E-LEARNING MODULE

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two bottles of pills
Accidental opioid overdoses: a public health crisis

Learn about the history of the opioid overdose crisis, the changing political landscape, and RNAO’s advocacy and four key recommendations. All levels of government have a critical role in responding with the urgency warranted by this public health crisis to provide access to essential health and social services and save lives.

READ RNAO’S POLITICAL ACTION BULLETIN

  • New regulations under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
    Image
    controlled drugs
    New regulations under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act  

    RNAO called on the federal government in our October 2020 submission to ensure people who use substances have the supports they need to reduce health and social harms, and remain safe. This includes increasing access to supervised consumption sites and services and working with provinces/territories to provide greater access to life-saving supervised consumption services
    LEARN MORE

  • E-Learning: engaging clients who use substances
    Image
    woman elearning
    E-Learning: engaging clients who use substances

    Learn about the foundational concepts and evidence-based practice approaches for engaging clients who use substances.

    COMPLETE THE E-LEARNING MODULE

  • Accidental opioid overdoses: a public health crisis
    Image
    two bottles of pills
    Accidental opioid overdoses: a public health crisis

    Learn about the history of the opioid overdose crisis, the changing political landscape, and RNAO’s advocacy and four key recommendations. All levels of government have a critical role in responding with the urgency warranted by this public health crisis to provide access to essential health and social services and save lives.

    READ RNAO’S POLITICAL ACTION BULLETIN