Don: The federal government must do more to combat the opioid crisis

Canada’s New Democrats believe that legislation to remove unnecessary barriers to opening new supervised injection sites is long overdue.

When the Liberals were in opposition, they said that Stephen Harper’s Bill C-2 was deliberately designed to prevent new facilities from being established. It’s a shame that it took over a year and the announcement of unsanctioned overdose reduction sites in British Columbia before the Liberal government tabled legislation.

Tragically, in the time it will now take for this bill to get through Parliament, ever more Canadians will lose their lives to overdose from opioids. A declaration of a national public health emergency would give the Public Health Agency of Canada ninety days to address this crisis while the government’s legislation makes its way through Parliament.

It is difficult to imagine the federal government taking such a tentative approach if 2000 citizens were dying from another health emergency, such as a breakout of SARS or Zika.

The Liberal government must immediately declare the opioid crisis a national public health emergency.

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