While the world is
immersed in the chaos surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada is simultaneously fighting another battle: the Opioid
It goes without saying
that Canada is the center of the Opioid crisis today – crisis killing Canadians – the causalities and
death toll are reaching new highs every month. In May the count was 174 and by
July it was well over 175 cases. The death toll this year is inching closer to
one thousand, an alarming situation since the number of deaths caused by the drug
is crossing the number of deaths caused by homicides, suicides, and car
The problem is
escalating rather rapidly – something needs to be done now!
Three years ago, Canadian province of British
Columbia officially announced Opioid
abuse as a public health emergency. The record-breaking
figures astounded the nation and a rigid plan was adopted for damage control.
As a matter of fact, last year, the province achieved positive numbers as the
number of deaths caused by Opioid abuse decreased dramatically. However, the
abusive trend resumed as soon as the government announced lockdown due to COVID-19!
The sudden increase is
partly due to the border closure. When the international supply chain facing
abrupt disruption, they turned towards local consumers – and sold drugs on much
reduced prices to the vulnerable.
Another factor that
played a pivotal role in elevated drug consumption is the safety
guidance kit prepared to tackle COVID-19. The
prolonged periods of isolation and social distancing enabled drug dealers to
reach out to the most vulnerable
Needless to say, drug
users are extremely anxious, and the pandemic has only added salt to wound.
This isolated environment has forced users to consume more drugs, and that too,
in larger quantity.
criticism against the Canadian
government due to the shared belief that the government lacked
expertise and couldn’t formulate an effective plan to deal with the crisis. It
failed to consider the contribution of unpredictable factors like the pandemic.
If you thought that the trouble with Opioid abuse is restricted to Canada, then you’re ill-informed.
Medical Association also raised similar concerns in August,
when the Opioid-related deaths increased significantly in over 40 states!
During the pandemic and
the overdose crisis, the incompetence of the Canadian government has been
exposed. It has given rise to conflicting political views and public attitudes.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
A lot of people are
leaving the so-called government-aided committees to raise awareness regarding
Opioid abuse. The departing members claim that no action is being taken and
everybody is complicit. Some even complain that all the attention is being given
to the pandemic –hurting the sentiments of families who’ve lost their dears
ones to drug abuse.
British Columbia Premier
John Horgan even gave the impression that COVID-19
is a more important concern than Opioid crisis because the drug indulgence is
done out of choice. He received a lot of flake after the comments, and rightly
so; he later apologized for it.
The only solution that
seems effective right now is the decriminalization of illicit drugs. This will
make the supply of alternative prescriptions safer. These interventions will do
the trick – at least the advocates believe so!
So far, the government
is not on board with the legalization of illegal drugs.
Anyway, let’s not
forget the fact that the crisis that occurred due to the pandemic was all
unprecedented, but the crises as a result of Opioid abuse were definitely seen
coming! Let’s hope and pray that the government
reconsiders its initial stance on the legalization of Opioid.