Opioid overdoses in Canada have surged since the coronavirus pandemic began, underscoring a worrying nationwide trend, the country’s chief public health officer said Friday according to Reuters.
“These data indicate a very worrying trend,” Tam said. “It has been over a year since British Columbia observed numbers this high sustained over a two-month period.”
While British Columbia is the epicenter of the country’s overdose crisis, the trend is also seen in Toronto, located on the other side of Canada, where paramedics reported that April had the highest number of opioid-related deaths in a month since September 2017, Reuters reports. Similarly, Calgary experienced a surge in overdose interventions. (RELATED: Father Says Son Didn’t Die From Coronavirus But His Suicide Occurred Because Of It)
Guy Felicella, a peer clinical advisor with the British Columbia Centre on Substance Abuse, told Reuters that the disruptions in the drug supply chain due to closed borders has made drugs more challenging to get.
“When (drugs become) more challenging to get, the potency goes up, the price goes up, everything goes up, and in that sense it becomes more deadly by the day,” Felicella said.
The closure of services along with prolonged isolation may have also exacerbated overdoses.
“When Shawn got out (of rehab) the [Narcotics Anonymous] meetings closed, they stopped five people gatherings so they were closed down,” Johanne Logue told Global News about her son.
“So with that and Shawn being an addict, he started isolating and not being able to see family or friends. (He) said to me, ‘Mom I feel like I’m being backed up against the wall.’”