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MPP Jamie West urging the province to take action to resolve the Sudbury opioid crisis

Opioid-related incidents in Sudbury have increased by nearly 40%
010222_LG_Jamie West Opioid Sized
White crosses erected as a memorial to opioid deaths in Sudbury.

Ontario needs to take action now to resolve the continuing opioid crisis in Sudbury, said New Democrat Jamie West, MPP for Sudbury. 

West penned an open letter Monday to Michael Tibollo, Ontario's Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions asking how many people have to die before Ontario Premier Doug Ford takes action to prevent opioid addiction and more overdoses in Sudbury.

To punctuate his concern, West made mention of the hundreds of white crosses located in downtown Sudbury to memorialize those who have died as a result of opioid overdoses.  The memorial began in the Fall of 2020 when a single cross was put up, West reported. 

"Currently, there are 223 opioid overdose memorial crosses erected in downtown Sudbury. Each cross represents not just the life that was lost, but also the countless friends, families and loved ones who are mourning," West wrote.  

West said those lost lives cannot be brought back but added "we can honour their lives with swift and decisive action to fund supports for those who continue to struggle with addiction in our community."

West also reminded Tibollo that he had introduced a motion in the legislature in 2019 calling on the government to declare the opioid situation in the North as a public health emergency. West said it could have saved lives.

"Passing my motion would have meant taking immediate action to prevent opioid addiction and overdoses. However, your party unanimously voted against my motion. Nearly three years later, the impact of opioid addiction and overdoses in Northern Ontario continues to deteriorate," West wrote. 

West made reference to a recent story that revealed a marked increase in the number of opioid-related incidents that occurred from January-November of 2021. Greater Sudbury Paramedic Services responded to 797-suspected opioid-related incidents (a 39.8 per cent increase from the previous year). There was also an increase in emergency department visits during the same period, the story reported. 

"Once again, I am calling for urgent action to address the opioid crisis in my community and throughout the North. I will continue to do so until the requisite support is given. Lives are at stake and people need support today, not tomorrow. Every day that the Conservative government delays essential funding and services equates to more harm to families and loved ones in my community and throughout the North," West said in his letter.



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