Opioid crisis prompts federal ministers to meet B.C. premier ahead of summit
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, November 17, 2016 2:35PM EST
OTTAWA - B.C. Premier Christy Clark is meeting with federal health and public safety ministers in Ottawa to talk about Canada's opioid crisis in advance of this week's summit meeting in the national capital.
Last spring, British Columbia became the first province in the country to declare a public health emergency following a dramatic spike in overdose deaths related to the use of drugs such as fentanyl.
Opioids include prescription painkillers such as oxycodone and morphine as well as illegal street drugs like heroin.
The two-day summit, which starts Friday, will be co-hosted by Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins and federal counterpart Jane Philpott.
The event will bring together health experts from across the country to examine issues including harm reduction and how to reduce addiction rates.
Canada and the U.S. have the highest rates of opioid use in the world, and Philpott says the root causes must be examined to explain why that is the case.