A group of New Democractic Party members of parliament are demanding the federal government declare the opioid crisis a national public health emergency.
Alistair MacGregor, MP for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, as well Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski called on the Trudeau government this week, urging it to commit significant new funding and resources to addressing the opioid crisis immediately.
“Across Canada, too many families are tragically losing parents, siblings and children to the opioid crisis,” the group said in a news release. “From downtown neighbourhoods to our most remote areas, no community has been untouched by these highly addictive and dangerous drugs.”
Citing research by the Angus Reid Institute, the release said one in eight Canadians, or roughly 3.5 million people, have become dependent on opioids in the last five years alone.
Fewer than one in four Canadians believe that the federal government has responded appropriately, a statistic the NDP agrees with, he added.
B.C. has seen the brunt of overdose deaths in Canada, with 1,143 deaths between January and September of this year. The province makes up more than one-third of all overdose deaths in the country.
“The Trudeau Liberals claim to be doing everything in their power to address the opioid crisis, and yet, that’s clearly not true,” the release said. “New Democrats have been calling for the declaration of a national public health emergency for over two years. It’s time for the Liberal government to act.”