Opioid Crisis in Halton region: Get the Facts

Opioid Crisis Halton Region
Opioid Crisis in Halton region: Get the Facts
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Nolan A Machan

Nolan A Machan

Nolan Machan is the Publisher of OakvilleNews.Org and has over 41 years of local Oakville knowledge. He is committed to providing Oakville residents with the most up-to-date information about our great town.

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“The opioid crisis in Ontario is a tragic and growing issue, one we are continuing to work diligently to combat. As part of our government’s commitment to openness, transparency and evidence-based decision-making, we are continuing to make relevant data widely available, including to health care providers and planners working on the front lines, as well as to the public.

Today, we have updated the Interactive Opioid Tracker with data from April 1 – June 30, 2017. As part of the $222 million announced last month to fight the opioid crisis, Ontario is making $21 million immediately available to help community-based addiction organizations in their response to this crisis. In addition, our government is making fentanyl testing strips available that can identify whether a substance contains fentanyl. These strips will at first be made available at all current supervised injection services and pop-up sites and will be evaluated for further distribution. We know that our work isn’t over — we continue to work closely with our partners, increasing access to treatment and supports as we fight this public health crisis together,” stated Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

According to Halton Region, their Health Department supports the provincial and federal governments’ efforts to address opioid crisis.

The Health Department addresses opioid use through a number of different initiatives, ranging from:

  • substance misuse prevention efforts,
  • harm reduction services to the provision of paramedic services, which carry and administer the opioid antidote naloxone where appropriate.

Harm reduction services include:

  • providing clean needles through the needle exchange program and
  • distributing the opioid antidote naloxone to clients, their friends and families.

In addition, the Health Department continually collects, monitors and analyzes available data for Halton on opioids.

Opioid Crisis Halton Region

Cases of Opioid related morbitity and mortality, Halton Region Department of Health from 2003 to 2017.

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In Halton, indicators of opioid crisis are lower than in many other public health units or the Ontario average. However, Halton has still seen an increase in opioid-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations over the past ten years, consistent with provincial trends.

A recent provincial report examined characteristics and patterns of opioid crisi in the Ontario population. Compared to other public health units, Halton had low rates of opioid dispensing to treat pain or addiction, as well as a low rate of opioid-related deaths.

To further explore patterns and trends in opioid use in Halton Region, the 2006-2015 Opioid Use in Halton report examines opioid-related emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations among Halton residents, as well as opioid overdose deaths occurring in Halton. Opioid-related ED visits and hospitalizations include both overdoses and individuals presenting with mental health or behavioural issues related to opioid use.

The report shows that rates (per 100,000 population) for ED visits and hospitalizations in Halton were almost half those seen in Ontario overall. However, consistent with provincial trends, these rates in Halton approximately doubled between 2006 and 2015.

Ongoing monitoring of these rates since the report’s release suggest the upward trend is continuing. Preliminary data suggest there were 26 opioid-related deaths among Halton residents in 2016, an increase compared to previous years. Interactive data on opioid-related ED visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in Halton and other public health units is publicly available through Public Health Ontario’s Opioid-related morbidity and mortality in Ontario tool.

  1. The Ontario Drug Policy Research Network. (2017). Behind the Prescriptions: A snapshot of opioid use across all Ontarians. Retrieved September 20, 2017 from Opioid Prescribing in Ontario.
  2. For further details, please refer to the attached report: Opioid use in Halton and the role of the Halton Region Health Department.

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