Life-saving initiative will provide pharmaceutical-grade medication as alternative to toxic illegal drug supply during COVID-19 pandemic and beyond
PETERBOROUGH, ON, May 17, 2021 /CNW/ - The overdose crisis continues to affect communities and families across Canada. Tragically, we have seen substantial increases in overdose deaths and related harms during the COVID-19 pandemic, including in Ontario where overdoses deaths increased significantly since the onset of the pandemic. The Government of Canada continues to support increasing access to safer supply projects in communities across Canada to help prevent drug overdoses during the pandemic and beyond.
Today, on behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development announced more than $200,000 over 27 months for a safer supply project in Peterborough. This innovative project will provide a pharmaceutical alternative to the toxic illegal drug supply and help prevent overdoses.
Led by the Peterborough 360 Degree Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic, the initiative will pilot the use of a nurse practitioner to deliver safer supply to 10 patients in Peterborough. The project will provide evidence and guidance on how to expand safer supply programs to smaller communities and best meet their unique needs. This initiative will also connect patients with essential health and social services, including treatment, which may be more difficult to access during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Government of Canada continues to work with all levels of government, partners, stakeholders, people who use drugs and people with lived and living experience and organizations in communities across the country to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and the overdose crisis.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more difficult for people who use substances to get support. We have to do more to reach those most at risk. Together with community organizations in Ontario and across the country, we can do better to ensure people can better access supports and treatment that will help alleviate suffering and save lives."
The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health
"Just like many communities across Canada, Peterborough has suffered tragic losses due to the overdose crisis. The Government of Canada is proud to support projects like this one that will help expand the services and treatments available for those at risk of overdose in communities like Peterborough."
The Honourable Maryam Monsef
Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development
"Safer supply programs in larger urban areas have been shown to reduce illegal drug use, risk of overdose, and crime while increasing engagement in healthcare and other social gains. This research project will identify what a safer supply model could look like to be successful in a smaller urban or rural setting. We are grateful to be exploring another tool to reduce the tragic impact of opioid poisonings from the illegal drug supply in our community."
Executive Director, Peterborough 360 Degree Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic
To further help people dealing with problematic substance use and tackle the ongoing overdose crisis, the Government recently announced in Budget 2021 an additional $116 million for the Substance Use and Addictions Program. The funding would support a range of innovative approaches to harm reduction, treatment, and prevention at the community level.
This builds on $66 million invested in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement for community-based organizations responding to substance use issues, including helping them provide frontline services in a COVID-19 context. The project announced today is funded from this commitment.
To date, the Government of Canada has committed more than $25 million in funding for Ontario safer supply projects to help save lives.
Early findings from Canadian evidence show that providing medications as an alternative to highly toxic illegal drugs for people at risk of overdose can help save lives and improve health outcomes. It can also help establish an entry to primary care and treatment for people with substance use disorder.
The project announced today is funded through Health Canada's Substance Use and Addictions Program—a federal grants and contributions program that provides financial support to provinces, territories and non-governmental and Indigenous organizations to strengthen responses to drug and substance use issues in Canada.
SOURCE Health Canada
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