Gord Johns statement for International Overdose Awareness Day

August 31st 2023: Today, on International Overdose Awareness Day, we remember all those who have been harmed or lost their lives to overdoses from toxic drugs. We also recommit to fighting the toxic drug crisis with the urgency needed to save further loss of life and to help those who choose a path of recovery from problematic substance use. 

The toxic drug crisis has been devastating for Canada-since 2016, more than 36,000 Canadians have died from overdoses and it's only getting worse. Last year alone, an average of 20 Canadians a day died from this public health emergency. 

The current patchwork approach to addressing substance use in Canada must be replaced with an integrated national health-based plan. it must remove the stigma of illicit substance use through decriminalization, provide harm reduction services to keep people alive, expand the availability of no-wait treatment services as part of our universal health care system and initiate overdose awareness programs nation-wide. 

Every day, more families are ripped apart and left in shambles because of the toxic drug emergency- and this won't change until meaningful and integrated actions are taken. Canadians deserve a government focused on finding solutions and protecting lives. 

My condolences are with all those who have lost loved ones due to toxic drug overdoses. Today, my NDP colleagues and I are recommitting to turning the tide on this emergency so that no more lives are lost. 

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