Statement by the Minister on the International Day of Overdose Awareness
Sheila Malcolmson, Secretary of State for Mental Health and Addiction, released the following statement on International Overdose Awareness Day:
“On International Overdose Awareness Day, people around the world remember those who lost their lives to the toxic drug crisis and use purple ribbons to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of substance use.
“Today is a day to mourn with the families and friends who have lost loved ones. This is an unimaginable loss.
“This loss is shared by colleagues, paramedics, firefighters, police officers and all those on the front lines of this terrible crisis. I am infinitely grateful for your hard work and dedication during these difficult times. You save lives.
“On International Overdose Awareness Day, we also put a face to the names of those who have been lost in hopes of breaking down the stigma associated with drug use. Fear and shame drive people to hide their addiction and take drugs alone, which is deadly. Addiction is a health condition.
“Increasing support and reducing stigma is an integral part of our government’s work to build a comprehensive and seamless mental health and addiction care continuum that works for all. This is also why we are decriminalizing people who use drugs.
“While we have been adding treatment and harm reduction services at an unprecedented pace, the increasing toxicity of illicit drugs has outpaced our addition of new overdose prevention services. Today and every day we remember the urgency of this work to save lives. We know there is more work to be done and we will not stop working until we turn the tide of this crisis.”