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1. The Opioid Crisis

Canada is in the midst of an opioid crisis.

Opioids are accessible legally and illegally. Opioids such as codeine, fentanyl, morphine, oxycodone, etc. are produced and prescribed often to treat pain.

Canadian Adults
Problematic Use

Data from 2018 estimated that 9.6% of Canadian adults who used opioid medications reported some form of problematic use

Canadian Population
Use of Prescribed Opioids

As of June 2020, 11.8% of the Canadian population used prescribed opioid pain relievers

Fastest Growing Overdose Population

Young Canadians aged 15-24 are the fastest-growing population requiring hospital care from opioid overdoses

2. The Overdose Crisis

Overdose deaths due to medical and non-medical drug use are the third leading cause of accidental deaths in Ontario. A large proportion of these deaths can be attributed to opioids. Drug overdose is not confined to one segment of the population, but can affect anyone.

Causes of the overdose crisis include over-prescription of opioids beginning in the 1990s, the increasingly toxic illegal drug supply, the criminalization of drug use, and stigma.

Canadian Deaths

Between January 2016 and June 2019, 13,900 Canadians died from an opioid overdose

Every 2 Hours

Between January and June 2019, one Canadian fatally overdosed every two hours

Overdoses don’t always result in death, but can result in physical and mental trauma

Smaller communities have double the overdose hospitalization rate of Canada’s largest cities

3. The Drug Policy Crisis

Most opioid-related deaths are preventable. Our “war on drugs” approach of the last few decades and the stigma associated with drug use have blocked the widespread adoption of life-saving overdose prevention and treatment policies in Canada. Unintentional deaths from opioid-overdoses are preventable through program and policy change. The overdose crisis is a drug policy crisis.

National Statistics
(January – September 2020)

Apparent Opioid-Related Deaths

Were Accidental

Were Male

Were Aged 20-49

Involved Fentanyl

Provincial Statistics
(January – November, 2020)

Apparent Opioid-Related Deaths

Increase in Deaths

Deaths Recorded in November 2020; The Highest Number of Deaths Reported to Date

Involved Fentanyl

Due to a Combination of an Opioid with a Stimulant


Increase in Opioid-related ER visits

(Windsor-Essex) when comparing February 2020 to February 2021
Confirmed Opioid-Related Emergency Department Visits in February 2021


Most overdoses in Windsor-Essex are caused by fentanyl

June 1st - June 21st, 2020 Windsor-Essex had one ED visit per day related to opioid-overdose