Larry Maguire, Member of Parliament for Brandon-Souris, has invited all Westman residents to come to a round table discussion on the ongoing opioid crisis taking place in Canada today. The event will be held Friday, August 11th at 10AM at the Trails West Inn on 18th Street North in Brandon in the Conference Room. Maguire will be joined by the Conservative Party’s Deputy Critic for Health, MP Rachel Harder. Maguire called the meeting as the numbers of individuals who suffer from addiction is growing exponentially across the country and many individuals are dying as a result of opioid overdoses.
Maguire said, “I am calling this meeting to hear from front line workers and as many local residents as possible. It is crucial we enhance public awareness of the severity of powerful opioids, as they are costing Canadians their livelihoods, and in many cases, their lives. We must do everything we can to ensure that this crisis is brought under control.”
Illicit fentanyl pills from overseas have flooded onto the black market, helping to fuel a rash of overdose deaths, particularly in western Canada. Canada is in the midst of an epidemic of opioid use and abuse – involving both prescription and illicit forms of potent narcotics – that shows no signs of abating and has led to an explosion of fatal overdoses.
Canadians remain the second highest per-capita consumers of opioids in the world, after Americans. Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and up to 50 times stronger than heroin – making it potentially deadly in very small doses.
In response to the crisis, the provincial government of Manitoba previously announced they will make naloxone, which treats overdoses, more widely available and is improving how they track and report incidents. Moreover, many more pharmacies in Westman are now carrying naloxone kits and they are free of charge at six various health centres.
“In Westman, we are not immune to this growing opioid problem,” said Maguire. “There are steps the federal government should take to lessen the availability of opioids and we need to improve the addiction and rehabilitation services. It is time to create a national strategy for tracking opioid overdoses.”
To date, the Conservative caucus has asked the federal government to declare a National Public Health Emergency and enhance border security measures to stop the flow of fentanyl and carfentanil into Canada. The Conservative caucus has also been vocal in asking the federal government to immediately undertake a national fentanyl and carfentanil education awareness campaign and support detox and treatment facilities.
Maguire concluded, “Rachael is looking forward to visiting Westman and as Deputy Critic for Health, she has a deep understanding of the ongoing Opioid Crisis and will take Westman’s concerns and ideas back with her to Ottawa.”
Residents wanting to attend are encouraged to call Maguire’s Parliamentary office at 613-995-9372 or send an email to Larry.Maguire@parl.gc.ca