Oct 12, 2016

By Christine Ross

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Ontario will expand use of the drug Suboxone as an alternative to methadone to treat people addicted to opioids. Medical experts say Suboxone is much safer than methadone and could dramatically reduce overdose deaths. Health Minister Eric Hoskins says the change is part of a new provincial strategy to fight an increasing number of overdoses and deaths from opioids such as fentanyl. As part of this wide-ranging response to the opioid crisis, the government also plans to open pain clinics. There are an estimated 50,000 opioid addicts currently getting methadone treatment in Ontario, and 700 deaths from opioid overdoses in 2014. Hoskins says opioid use has become the third leading cause of accidental death in Ontario, ahead of car accidents. A surge in overdose deaths in British Columbia prompted that province to declare a public health emergency in April but Ontario has no plans to do the same.

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