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2017 saw a significant increase in overdoses due to opioids, which is indicated to continue to rise in 2018. Though a great deal of progress has been made throughout all levels of government, including tabling legislations that have seen an increase in harm reduction services, more needs to be done to ensure the numbers surrounding overdoses and poisonings due to opioids begin to regress.

2017 in Review – Facts and Figures:


  • BC Coroner’s office reports the province’s 2016 drug overdose deaths at an unprecedented 922.


  • B.C. and Ottawa sign $1.4B health deal to address opioid crisis.
  • Canadian mayors launch task force to push for nationwide emergency response.
    • The task force includes the mayors of Vancouver, Surrey, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, London and Kitchener.


  • To protect the health and safety of its citizens, the Federal Government enacts the Good Samaritan Law to encourage Canadians to save a life during an overdose situation.
  • Ontario fills more opioid prescriptions than ever before amid overdose crisis.


  • Ontario announces the province’s plan to pledge an additional $222 million over three years to improve access to harm reduction services and addiction treatment, including increased access to naloxone.


  • Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) releases report highlighting the number of Canadians admitted to hospital for opioid toxicity at 16 per day.
    • This translates into more than 5,800 Canadians needing treatment from 2016-2017.
    • Hospital admissions for opioid poisonings jump 53 per cent, with more than 40 per cent of that increase occurring in the last three years.


  • Ontario implements an emergency task force consisting of front-line workers and healthcare experts to strengthen the province's coordinated response to the opioid crisis.


  • Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) releases report detailingan increase in opioid prescriptions in Canada over the last 5 years.
    • Report highlights Canada as the second-largest per capita consumer of opioids in the world.
    • Despite crisis, opioid prescriptions increased by 1.3M from 2012-2016.


  • Ontario expands opioid response by equipping police and fire services with life-saving naloxone.
  • Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) reports fentanyl found in 75 per cent of all opioid-related deaths in Ontario, a 22 per cent increase from 2016.

With Canada’s death count anticipated to surpass 4,000 in 2017, it is imperative that life saving measures, such as increased access to medications like naloxone and other harm reduction services, are enacted on a nationwide basis, with municipal, provincial and federal governments, all working in unison.

For more information, visit narcannasalspray.ca.