August 30, 2017 – Dr. Merrilee Fullerton is critical of Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins’ announcement yesterday to spend more money on the government’s current strategy that has not proven results in reducing opioid addiction and abuse. The Ottawa doctor and health care expert calls on the government to produce a more thoughtful and comprehensive approach that will include better education on prescription drugs and a better understanding of the root causes of illicit drug use among Ontario youth.
“Our community has been deeply hurt by the increased use of opioid drugs and the government’s pledge to spend an additional $222 million over three years for more front-line help and greater supply of naloxone is not addressing the crisis we face,” says Dr. Fullerton. “This approach has not produced promising results in Kanata. Our community is still challenged and trying to come to terms with the increased numbers of overdoses and, in the most tragic of cases, the senseless deaths.”
A total 865 people died in Ontario last year due to opioids, and this is a 19% increase from 2015.
Dr. Fullerton, who is the Ontario PC candidate in the riding of Kanata-Carleton, calls on the Wynne Government to do more. “We need a more thoughtful approach by our Health Minister because obviously what is now in place is not working. Premier Wynne announced a “Comprehensive Opioid Strategy” a year ago but there is no sign that what the government is doing is effective overall, despite the many millions already spent.”
“I say to the Minister and to the Premier that it is wishful thinking to simply throw more money at the problem.”
“The use of illicit drug use is not a new issue and neither is the misuse of prescription drugs. These issues have been escalating for years.” Dr. Fullerton explains, “What has changed is the introduction of even more deadly substances like fentanyl that demands a change of approach if we expect to reverse this trend.”
Dr. Fullerton states the issue has become a public health epidemic that requires more decisive immediate action and a longer term view to ensure that the future generation of young people are better prepared to avoid and overcome drug abuse and addiction.
“Leadership in addressing illicit drug use must address a full gambit of issues: Source issues, Use issues, Prevention and Treatment issues, Long Term follow up issues, and Societal issues that contribute to the environment leading to drug abuse.”
Dr. Fullerton adds, “We must do better than this and people of Kanata should expect more from their Government than what this recent announcement offers.”
You can read more on Dr. Fullerton’s perspectives on the opioid crisis:
Dr. Merrilee Fullerton