Windsor-Tecumseh New Democrat MPP Percy Hatfield used the final session of the Ontario legislature before the summer break to call on the province to approve more safe injection sites.
“When will this government declare an opioid crisis and when will they partner with volunteer agencies so fewer lives are lost from drug overdoses in Ontario,” asked Hatfield on Thursday.
The NDP member also mentioned how the family of Josh Chouinard agreed to hand out naloxone kits at his funeral on Monday. The 17-year-old died last week from an apparent overdose of carfentanil.
Health Minister Christine Elliot noted the province has created 21 overdose prevention sites and is currently reviewing applications for six more.
But Hatfield argues the number of sites is woefully inadequate compared to the rising number of overdose deaths in Ontario.
Officials in Peterborough recently reported 13 overdoses in a 72-hour period.
The latest data indicates more than 1,360 people died of opioid poisoning in Ontario last year.
According to Public Health Ontario, 28 people in Windsor-Essex died in the first nine months of 2018 from apparent opioid overdoses.
The data also shows 36 opioid-related deaths in 2017. That compares to 37 in 2016 and 24 in 2015.
Hatfield also quoted data from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit that shows 22 emergency room visits due to overdoses in January, and 150 ER visits in Windsor for all of last year.