Opioid Deaths Doubled Among First Nations People in Ontario Amid Pandemic, Report Finds | The Canadian News

A new report says that the number of First Nations people who died from opioid-related deaths in Ontario more than doubled during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report released today by the Chiefs of Ontario and the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network says 116 First Nations people died due to opioid poisoning between March 2020 and March 2021, compared with 50 people on last year.

That’s a 132 percent increase, compared to a 68 percent increase in opioid-related deaths among the rest of the province’s population.

The report says that the majority of First Nations people who visited the hospital or died due to opioid-related poisoning lived in urban areas or outside First Nations communities.

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However, during the pandemic, the largest relative increase in opioid-related harm occurred among indigenous peoples living in rural areas and within First Nations communities.

The Ontario Chiefs and the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network also released a report looking at opioid use, related harms, and access to treatment among First Nations in Ontario today.

Ontario regional chief Glen Hare says the reports are “very explicit in providing evidence that governments must correct the lack of funding that has been going on for years to make effective progress in addressing the overdose crisis in First Nations communities. “

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