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News Release

Health Department and local agencies participate in Opioid Forum to discuss current concerns in Durham Region

WHITBY, ON October 30, 2017 - Recent data compiled by Durham Region Health Department shows an increase in hospitalizations and emergency department visits due to opioid misuse and deaths due to drug toxicity. To address this concern, the Health Department held an Opioid Forum on Oct. 30, to provide local agencies with an opportunity to discuss the current situation related to opioid misuse in Durham Region and actions to be taken to address this urgent issue.

In August, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care announced that public health units across the province are accountable under the Ministry’s Harm Reduction Program Enhancement plan to address the opioid situation using three key components:

  • Local Opioid Response;
  • Naloxone Distribution and Training; and,
  • Opioid Overdose Early Warning and Surveillance.

“This forum was held to begin planning for a local response to the opioid situation as outlined in the direction received from the Ministry,” said Dr. Robert Kyle, Durham Region Medical Officer of Health. “Participants provided input into the development of a comprehensive opioid response plan for Durham Region, specific to identified needs of the community, and the formation of a task force to oversee implementation and evaluation of a local response plan, including naloxone distribution.”

In addition to local community agencies, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and Provincial Overdose Coordinator, Dr. David Williams, also attended the forum as keynote speaker providing an overview of the work being done at the provincial level.

“Opioid misuse and overdose are both important public health issues not only in Durham Region, but also across Ontario and nation-wide,” noted Dr. Kyle. “This forum and the involvement of local partners will provide a better understanding of this issue and help in the development of a Durham Region approach for a plan to address the specific concerns of our community.”

For more information on opioid misuse or other substances misuse facts, visit durham.ca/harmreduction. Additional information on opioids is also available by visiting the Opioids page at canada.ca.

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Media inquiries:

Regional Municipality of Durham:
Glendene Collins - Health Department, 905-668-7711 ext. 2999, glendene.collins@durham.ca

If you require information in an accessible format, please contact 1-800-841-2729 ext. 3094

For more information, please contact Health Department.