Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Addressing the Invisible and Older Faces of Canada’s Opioid Crisis


Opioids, commonly referred to as “narcotics,” are potent medications used widely to treat pain — but
they also have strong potential for misuse and addiction. Over the past decade, the opioid crisis in Canada has become a major, growing public health emergency. Two broad, but related, factors have contributed to the acceleration of the opioid crisis
in Canada. First, opioid prescription rates have risen steadily over the past 30 years to today’s extremely high levels, and despite recent decreases in opioid prescription rates, Canada remains one of the largest consumers of prescription opioids in the world. Second, there has been a steep rise

in the use of street opioids, many
of which are extremely potent (i.e. fentanyl), which have been linked to skyrocketing rates of opioid overdoses and deaths across Canada.

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