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Toronto, Dec 19 (Canadian-Media): Canada's Opioid deaths -- expected to hit 4,000 by end of 2017 far above last year's total of 2,861 opioid-related fatalities -- had been attributed to increased presence of fentanyl in the drug supply, media reports said.
Illicit fentanyl reportedly accounted for 53 percent of all opioid overdose deaths in 2016.
Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer of Canada, was reported by the media to state that the fentanyl-contaminated drug has affected all the provinces and territories and added, "it could hit all other areas of Canada and that's why it's so concerning."
"It's such a toxic drug that there is no second chance," Tam was reported to state "So people may die at the first exposure to fentanyl...This is a national public health crisis.First and foremost there is a very toxic drug supply...So we've seen the proportion of fentanyl as part of the opioid-related deaths go up 75 per cent now, and that's increased compared to last year."
Although British Columbia and Alberta were the hardest hit by fentanyl-related overdose deaths, the occurrence of opioid into the street drug supplies in Ontario also leading to fatalities was worrisome
Three-quarters of opioid-related deaths, reported Public Health Agency of Canada, prevailed among males and the highest proportion (28 percent) Canadians aged 30 to 39 succumbed to death.
The implementation of numerous preventive measures to counteract the overdose deaths, including operation of supervised injection sites for drug users with easy access to the rescue medication naloxone, Tam admiited it was too early for those programs to reduce the number of deaths.
For instance, many safe-injection sites, had only recently begun operating.
"This crisis is really based on some very difficult societal challenges, including stigma to the persons who have problematic substance use and also some of the social economic factors such as homelessness and poverty," Tam said.
"So this is an extremely complex issue and as we move into 2018, we really need the whole of Canada to be prepared."
The need of the hour, Tam was reported to say is collaboration between all levels of government to increase access to treat people struggling with drug abuse.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)