York Region Takes Action Against Harmful Effects of Opioid Use

The Opioid Action Plan and online drug reporting tool launched to address rising opioid harms

Go to York Region Opioid Action Plan PDF

Newmarket –  Like many communities in Ontario and across Canada, The Regional Municipality of York is experiencing the growing impact of opioid harms. Through the meeting of York Regional Council, the Opioid Action Plan was shared today with York Region Board of Health.

Supported by York Region and York Regional Police, over 20 community partners worked together and developed the Opioid Action Plan (PDF) with feedback from people with lived experience. It was developed to address opioid harms in the Region and to support individuals, families and friends impacted by this epidemic. The plan as contains recommendations for action based on four key pillars: prevention, first response and enforcement, treatment and harm reduction.

“York Region is fortunate to have one of the lowest rates in Ontario for emergency department visits and deaths for opioid overdoses,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson. “Yet, these numbers are slowly on the rise and we cannot become complacent in our efforts.”

Emergency visits and hospitalization related to opioid use in York Region have been steadily increasing since 2009. In 2018, there were 40 opioid-related deaths in York Region. Opioids are medications that can relieve pain when used properly, but can also cause dependencies, addictions and unintentional death. Contributing to the harms are opioids that are prescribed as well as those obtained illegally. Opioid addiction and overdose can happen to anyone and the impacts to individuals, families and the community are devastating.

“Managing the opioid crisis has become a priority for governments, non-governmental organizations, health and safety agencies and communities,” said Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region Medical Officer of Health. “The Opioid Action Plan provides expert advice and recommendations for a community-wide effort to address opioid harms that occur among people of all ages and income levels in our Region.”

In 2016, the Canadian government identified the opioid crisis as a top priority and asked provinces, territories and other partners across the country to commit to action. York Region’s Opioid Action Plan recognizes the different degrees of opioid use and the need for intervention and support at all levels, addressing factors that contribute to or reduce harm.

Launched as an outcome from the plan, Report Bad Drugs is an online tool to anonymously report harmful drugs and bad reactions to street drugs. The information received may be used as part of the early warning system to alert the community and service providers about drug and overdose concerns.

An overdose is a medical emergency. If you or someone you know is experiencing an overdose, call 911 immediately.

The Regional Municipality of York consists of nine local cities and towns and provides a variety of programs and services to 1.2 million residents and 52,000 businesses with over 636,600 employees. More information about the Region’s key service areas is available at york.ca/regionalservices

– 30 –

Media Contact:   

Andrea Griepsma, Corporate Communications, The Regional Municipality of York
Phone:  1-877-464-9675  ext. 71233 or Cell: 905-251-6413
Email: andrea.griepsma@york.ca