Sarnia Joins Call To Make Opioid Crisis Provincial Emergency

Fentanyl patches and cash seized. (File photo courtesy of London police.)

Mayor Mike Bradley has added the voice of Sarnia-Lambton to the many calling on the Kathleen Wynne Liberal government to declare the opioid crisis a provincial emergency.

The mayor said doing so would enhance and support the already announced initiatives and help in dealing with the biggest medical and societal health emergency in recent memory.

“The experience in Alberta and BC is that it has had a significant impact when you make it your number one priority for everyone across the board dealing with these issues,” said Bradley. “Everything from policing, to healthcare, to mental health issues, it does elevate the issue and ensures that people understand that this is not just a passing fad, it’s a substantial thing that’s happening.”

In early June, Bradley and nine other Ontario mayors met with Health Minister Hoskins in Toronto.  He believes the minister is committed to dealing with the issue as a priority.

On Monday, Wynne said the government agrees that the province is facing a public health crisis due to the numbers of opioid overdoses and deaths. She adds the province will soon announce “significant additional resources and supports” to help deal with the opioid crisis.

The Ontario government took a step forward on Tuesday, with a funding announcement of $222-million over three years to enhance Ontario’s Strategy to Prevent Opioid Addiction and Overdose.

The money will go toward adding more front-line harm-reduction workers, expanding the supply of naloxone, and creating new rapid access addiction clinics in every region of the province.

Sarnia-Lambton has been hit hard by opioid abuse. Sarnia police reported three overdoses, including one death, August 9 on drugs laced with Fentanyl.

Fentanyl has been stolen in a pair of pharmacy robberies this month, and traffickers were arrested back in May.

-With files from Lee Michaels