Opioid Epidemic in Canada

Opioid Epidemic in Canada

The State of Canada’s Opioid Epidemic

The opioid crisis has been a serious problem in Canada for many years. Individuals continue to misuse opioids, leading to a reduced quality of life, accidental overdoses and even death. Everyone wants to see their loved ones who suffer from opioid addiction overcome their struggle, and many of those struggling themselves are seeking recovery. It’s a difficult road, but one that’s destination is worth the effort it takes to get there. 

As it stands, Canada has seen 21,174 opioid toxicity deaths in the five years spanning January 2016 to December 2020. In 2020 alone, there were over 6,000 deaths, or about 17 per day, with a majority of 96% being accidental. The opioid epidemic in Canada is far-reaching, but everyone needs to work together to overcome it. The time is now to take a stand against this opioid overdose crisis. 

The Effect of COVID-19 on the Opioid Crisis

The entire scope of the effects of COVID-19 has worsened opioid addiction in Canada. Canada’s opioid addiction statistics show that the situation was improving in the years leading up to COVID-19. But after the virus came into full swing, the numbers skyrocketed once again. 

Several reasons exist for this. People experienced global insecurity from COVID-19 and feared for their own health and the health of their loved ones. As a result, many turned to opioids in an attempt to find a sense of stability and comfort. The lockdowns also forced people to spend more time at home and away from their friends, family and places of work. This provided the opportunity for increased opioid use as individuals self-medicated to try to make it through the difficult times. 

Yet it’s clear to see that opioids are not the answer to any crisis outside of certain medical cases. Misusing opioids is a crisis on its own. Now, Canada faces the challenge of overcoming two public health challenges at once — the global COVID-19 pandemic and the opioid epidemic. And according to the numbers, COVID-19 is only making the second challenge that much harder. 

Learn how COVID-19 has impacted opioid addiction in Ontario

The History of the Opioid Crisis in Canada

Prescription drug addiction in Canada has been going on for decades. In fact, opioids have been one of the most common sources of addiction and misuse around the world for centuries. But Canada has seen a 3,000% increase in the volume of opioids purchased by pharmacies and hospitals since the beginning of the 1980s. More people are taking prescription opioids in Canada in recent decades than ever before, leading to higher rates of addiction and misuse. 

To put this into perspective, the same study reports that 20 million opiate prescriptions were dispensed in 2016. This number translates to almost one prescription for every person 18 years of age or older. Now, Canada is the second-largest consumer of opioid prescriptions globally, only coming in second to the United States.

Canada is the second-largest consumer of opioid prescriptions globally, only second to the United States

The problem extends past Canada’s large volume of prescription opioids served. Many Canadians are taking opioids without a prescription. The number of Canadians taking non-prescription opioids has been steadily climbing since 1999. By 2008, non-prescription opioid use was the fourth most misused substance after tobacco, alcohol and cannabis. These numbers show that prescription opioids are more commonly misused than cocaine and heroin. 

How Canada Is Tackling the Opioid Epidemic

Canadians are pulling together to tackle the opioid epidemic. Citizens, pharmacists and government officials alike are doing their parts to make sure this health crisis ends once and for all. Here are some of the ways Canadians are accomplishing this:

  • Addressing the root cause of opioid misuse instead of the misuse only
  • Decreasing the misuse of opioids through education 
  • Monitoring and controlling the distribution and use of opioids
  • Supporting strategies to help people suffering from opioid misuse receive the help they need

At the “centre” of these solutions are treatment centres that are ready to help people start their new lives opioid-free. Canada’s Drug Treatment Court Funding Program is giving non-violent individuals who misuse opioids the chance to participate in monitored drug treatment programs instead of being sentenced to jail time. Treatment centres provide the essential care and education people need to become sober and overcome their opioid addiction. 

What You Can Do to Help Someone Who Has an Opioid Addiction

Addiction affects the whole family. Everyone wants to see their child or grandchild free from addiction. Young people want to see their loved ones who are older break free from the chains of opioid misuse. From the top of the family tree to the bottom, everyone feels the pain for their loved one who is struggling. Luckily, there are ways you can help. 

The first step is to keep loving them. Have confidence they can overcome their opioid misuse, and let them know you believe in them. These emotional responses could mean the world to the recovering individual and help them make the next positive step they need to take. 

You can also encourage them to seek help from a treatment for opioid addiction centre. Here are some of the programs and treatments that could help change the course of your loved one’s life:

  • Methadone: Methadone is a legal substitute for heroin that is effective at helping people who are addicted to opioids stabilize their lives. Treatment programs have used it since the 1960s, and a single dose of the medication lasts 24 to 36 hours. 
  • Buprenorphine: Addiction specialists have been using buprenorphine since 2002 to effectively treat opioid misuse. It is one of the most popular options for treating opioid withdrawal and has been a great help in many people’s roads to recovery. 
  • Sublocade®: Sublocade® is a monthly injectable medication that releases buprenorphine over the course of a month to reduce the side effects of opioid withdrawal. Sublocade®, along with counseling, is a key part of a comprehensive treatment plan. 

Many other treatment options exist that can be the answer your loved one has been looking for. 

Contact Canadian Addiction Treatment Centres for Help Overcoming Opioid Dependency

If you or a loved one are suffering from opioid misuse, you’re one decision away from taking the road to recovery. Many treatment options exist that can help the return to normalcy, including medication-based treatments to help you, your friend or your family member achieve success. At Canadian Addiction Treatment Centres, we understand this can seem like a difficult decision. We’re here to tell you that it will be one of the best decisions of you or your loved one’s life. 

Contact us today for more information about how we can help you overcome your opioid dependency. Let us help you take the next step toward recovery. 

Contact Canadian Addiction Treatment Centres for Help Overcoming Opioid Dependency