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Tories and NDP stand with docs on opioid crisis

Patrick Brown and France Gélinas urging Wynne to take action
20170529 Opioid ro
Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown and Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas both issued statements on Aug. 28 in response to a letter sent to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne by more than 700 health care workers regarding the province's opioid crisis. (File)

NDP health critic and Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas believes the situation is an emergency.

Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown issued a statement on Aug. 28 about it. 

The two politicians each issued statements on Monday in response to a letter sent to Premier Kathleen Wynne by more than 700 health care workers regarding Ontario’s opioid crisis.

Gélinas added her support to the 700 doctors, nurses, and frontline harm reduction workers, issuing a statement of her own on Aug. 28.

“New Democrats support doctors, nurses and frontline harm reduction workers from across the province who are calling on Premier Wynne to declare an emergency so they can help stem the opioid crisis that has claimed too many lives in Ontario," said Gélinas in her statement.

"The need for action is urgent and any further delays by the Wynne government are simply unacceptable. To start to address the scale of this public health crisis, Premier Wynne must do the right thing today and support the call from frontline health care workers who are struggling without the resources they need."

Gélinas said that New Democrats support a declaration of emergency to allow health care workers to develop urgent responses to the crisis, increase funding for harm reduction work, allow for the local supports that communities need to save lives, and send the message that every life matters in Ontario.

Tory leader Brown did much the same thing, issuing a statement, but also highlighting steps the PCs believe Ontario must take to get a handle on the opioid crisis.

“The Ontario PCs have been very clear, Ontario is in the midst of an opioid crisis," said Brown in his statement.

"Between 2006 and 2015, fentanyl overdose deaths in Ontario have soared by 548 per cent. Opioid overdoses and abuse can tear apart families and communities, and our vulnerable youth are being put at risk."

The Ontario PCs have called on the Liberal Government to take the following actions:

  • Crack down on illegal pill press machines used to make counterfeit pills and those who operate them.
  • Re-direct 10 per cent of their whopping $57 million taxpayer-funded advertising budget to a province-wide opioid awareness campaign.
  • Release weekly overdose reporting data to the public.
  • Create a ministerial task force to take urgent action to address the opioid crisis.

“Last week in Timmins, I announced that the Ontario PCs will be putting forward legislation requiring the Liberal government to invest at least 10 per cent of their government advertising budget this fiscal year to an opioid and fentanyl awareness campaign," said Brown.

"MPP Michael Harris also has a Private Members’ Bill before the Legislature to crack down on pill press machines. As more and more stories continue to come out about tragic and preventable opioid overdose deaths, the Wynne Liberals should immediately pass these two bills when the Legislature resumes in September. These are important steps that will help to stop this crisis in its tracks.”