Brockville City Committee to discuss declaring opiods a public health emergency


A Brockville City committee meets Tuesday and will discuss declaring opioids a public health emergency. 

A motion will come to the City's Planning and Operations Committee Tuesday that if approved, would see Brockville call on the federal government to declare the opioid overdose crisis a national public health emergency. 

The motion from Councillor Leigh Bursey said the move is needed so the problem "is taken seriously and funded appropriately." 

It calls for a "pan-Canadian overdose action plan, which includes comprehensive supports and full consideration of reforms that other countries have used to significantly reduce drug-related fatalities and stigma, such as legal regulation of illicit drugs to ensure safe supply of pharmaceutical alternatives to toxic street drugs, and decriminalization for personal use." 

The discussion comes in the context of a spike in overdoses across the region in the past year, which have been amplified and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Thirty people died in 2020 compared to 17 the previous year in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark, with fentanyl involved in 85 per cent of overdose reports.

A number of agencies have continued to work on a local drug strategy and hope to get it up and running as soon as possible. 

Brockville Police Chief Scott Fraser said last month he'd like to see more resources for the problem from both the provincial and federal governments.