City of Toronto issued the following announcement on May 9.
Toronto Public Health wants to hear what residents think about Canada's current approach to drugs, and to promote discussion on what a public health approach to drug policy could look like for Canada. On behalf of Toronto Public Health, Ipsos Public Affairs will host an online survey and two community dialogue sessions this month on what a public health approach to drug policy could look like for Canada.
"Too many people in our community are dying from taking drugs contaminated with fentanyl and other potent substances," said Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health. "The resulting trauma is devastating for the families, friends and colleagues affected by these tragedies. The criminalization of people who take drugs is contributing to this crisis because it forces people into unsafe drug use practices and creates barriers to seeking help. We need to consider new ways to address this issue and this is why we recommend a public health approach, which is what this community dialogue is all about."
People can share input through an online survey (ipsosasks.ca/TPH-Community-Dialogue) or by participating in a community dialogue session. These sessions will include presentations from health and drug policy experts, and small group discussions for attendees to share ideas and perspectives on this important topic:
Date: Tuesday, May 22
Time: 6 to 9 p.m.
Location: Room 308, 3rd floor, Metro Hall, 55 John St.
Date: Thursday, May 24
Time: 6 to 9 p.m.
Location: Mimico Centennial Library, Auditorium, 47 Station Rd.
The opioid poisoning emergency continues and remains a serious public health issue in Toronto and beyond. Governments from around the world are considering different approaches to drugs with some countries decriminalizing drug use and possession, while others are legalizing and regulating drugs.
Opioid-overdose deaths in Toronto are increasing. The most recent preliminary estimates from the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario show there were 187 deaths in Toronto from May to July 2017, which is more than double the number of deaths over the same time period in 2016.
"People have used alcohol and other drugs throughout history, and most of this use does not create any significant harm. Some use does create harm, which is why we need prevention, harm reduction and treatment services, but we also need drug laws that are evidence-based, and that build healthier communities for all Canadians," added Dr. de Villa.
Original source: https://www.toronto.ca/home/media-room/news-releases-media-advisories/?nrkey=3317B6F8E59B87C78525828800594751