The United States and Canada lead
the world in opioid consumption. Canada is
experiencing a serious and growing opioid crisis, with devastating effects on
families and communities across the country.
Canada’s federal government is working
closely with its provinces and territories to collect and share data on
opioid-related deaths. In December 2017, the government released the latest in
a series of quarterly national reports on apparent opioid-related deaths in Canada. The report
includes data collected by the provinces and territories from their respective
offices of Chief Coroners/Medical Examiners and shared through the Special
Advisory Committee on the Epidemic of Opioid Overdoses. Among the report’s key
findings: Fentanyl or fentanyl
analogues were implicated in 74% of apparent opioid-related deaths in the first
half of 2017, up from 53% a year earlier.
There were 2,861 apparent opioid-related
deaths in Canada in 2016. Over 74% of these deaths occurred among males and
nearly 28% in individuals between the ages of 30 and 39. The Canadian opioid
crisis has affected every part of the country, but British Columbia has been
impacted more than other provinces and territories, both in terms of the total
number of deaths and the number of deaths per capita.