Canada’s opioid epidemic continues to be a national crisis, with numbers climbing even higher during the pandemic.
Twenty-five thousand people in Canada have died from opioid-related poisoning in the last five years. In the first half of 2021, 87% of those deaths involved fentanyl. Advocates and politicians say harm reduction is the only way to save as many lives as possible.
But how far is too far?
While overdose prevention and safe injection sites are becoming the norm, other sites are going further.
Crosstown Clinic offers medical-grade heroin in prescribed and supervised doses to chronic users. They say it gets people struggling with addiction off the street and away from criminal activity to support their habit.
But others say detox beds are much needed, and little public funding goes towards recovery. Daniel Lazazzera agrees. After struggling with addiction for many years, he finally found recovery at Hope House – a recovery program based in a church in Barrie.
And for others, the power of addiction has too strong of a hold. Firefighter Jeff Walsh watched his son’s addiction to opioids take over his life. While the family tried everything, the power of addiction was too strong. His son overdosed in June 2021.
Context’s Maggie John joins Cheryl Weber and Mark Masri from 100 Huntley Street to share the realities of this crisis and inspiring stories of hurt, pain, and hope in the complex journey of recovery.
Watch the special joint episode tackling this issue on Castle.