MP Marc Dalton speaks about the need for more addiction treatment services. (Special to The News)

MP Marc Dalton speaks about the need for more addiction treatment services. (Special to The News)

Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge MP calls for more addiction treatment

Dalton says one in five Canadians will battle addiction at some point

Marc Dalton, Conservative MP for Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge, tabled a motion on Monday that calls on the House of Commons to recognize a lack of access to addiction treatment, and demand the Liberal government develop a federal framework to address this crisis.

“It’s clear that the addictions crisis in Canada has had a devastating impact on Canadians, especially during the pandemic,” said Dalton. “Through this federal framework, real and effective recovery treatment would ultimately become more accessible to the many Canadians who experience addiction to harmful substances.”

Dalton told The News he has seen the effects of the opioid crisis in his riding.

“This motion comes out of what I’m seeing in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, and it’s widespread – it’s everywhere.”

Elements of this federal framework would include:

• Best practices, guidelines, and long-term plans developed through consultation with provinces, municipalities, and recovery providers.

• Targeted strategies for specific populations, indigenous peoples, and at-risk youth.

• Employer awareness programs to help recognize addiction and provide support for their employees.

• Increased temporary financial supports to individuals undergoing treatment and their families.

“Deaths from overdoses are in the headlines often, and rightfully so. It’s a tragedy,” said Dalton. “Record numbers are dying, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. Statistics Canada estimates 21 per cent of Canadians will battle addiction sometime in their lives. With many thousands of lives hanging in the balance, the passing of this motion, and the development of a federal framework are absolutely critical steps to take on such a vital issue effecting so many Canadians.”

READ ALSO: Recovery is best solution for solving opioid crisis

READ ALSO: 2020 was deadliest year for fatal overdoses in Maple Ridge

Dan Ruimy, the former Liberal MP for the riding, said addictions treatment is a health issue that can’t be addressed without the cooperation of the provinces.

“There’s no debating addictions is a crisis,” he said. “We all – all levels of government – have to do more, in my opinion.”

He said any federal initiative must be agreed upon by the provinces, and each province will tailor its own solution.

Ruimy said Dalton is putting a partisan spin on addiction treatment, and noted Conservatives have opposed supervised consumption sites.

“You have to keep people alive until they can get treatment,” he said.

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