The provincial government has no real-time monitoring for opioid or Fentanyl overdose deaths, something the NDP’s Health Critic wants changed. France Gelinas, who is also the MPP for Nickel Belt, says doctors are struggling to manage the disaster in the dark; with data that is two or three years old. She says people are losing access to medications needed to control their pain, and the government is losing the public health battle because it doesn’t have the most up-to-date information.
Ontario’s Chief Coroner’s Office has data on overdose deaths, but the latest statistics only cover up to 2015. Figures for that year won’t come out until 2017.
However, Ontario’s Health Minister, Doctor Eric Hoskins, says the government is taking steps to address the issue. He says that includes making a life-saving antidote available free of charge at pharmacies without a prescription.
Hoskins says having real-time data is critically important and more than 100 hospitals across Ontario send overdose triage information. However, he does concede there is more work to be done.
(Written by: Taylor Ablett)