‘The largest health crisis of our generation’: How each federal party plans to deal with the opioid crisis
By Rachel Browne National Online Journalist Politics Reporter Global News
NEWS: HOW EACH FEDERAL PARTY PLANS TO DEAL WITH THE OPIOID CRISISX
Last December, Conservative MP John Barlow gave an impassioned speech in the House of Commons about someone close to him who had overdosed in Calgary near his riding of Foothills.
“We actually had to break into her apartment,” Barlow said. “When I saw her there, the look on her face and the condition she was in was permanently scarred into my brain.”
He went on to describe how he and his wife took the woman to the hospital.
“The things that were going through my mind were not, ‘I wish I could get her to a safe injection site,’ or ‘I sure wish that these drugs were decriminalized,’” Barlow said. “What we have to do is put our priority in treating these people.”
WATCH: John Barlow recounts his best friend’s fight with opioid addiction
Barlow’s speech encompassed some of the ongoing discussions, and disagreements, over how to deal with the worsening opioid overdose crisis and an increasingly toxic illegal drug supply.
Public health experts and advocates say harm reduction tools such as supervised consumption sites are crucial to keeping people alive and are a vital aspect of evidence-based treatment options. Meanwhile, many conservative politicians and law enforcement officials say that cracking down on the supply and treatment should be the top priorities.
The main federal parties hold a range of ideas on how to deal with the opioid crisis, which has resulted in the deaths of more than 11,000 people across Canada since 2016.