August 5, 2016
In response to Health Minister Jane Philpott’s recent statement on the opioid crisis, AMHO submitted the following letter:
Dear Minister Philpott,
Addictions and Mental Health Ontario (AMHO) is encouraged by your recent statement affirming your commitment to addressing the growing crisis related to opioid overdoses and deaths across the country.
Our members, who are community-based, not-for-profit mental health and addictions service providers, have extensive, ground-level experience with this issue, and would be happy to share our sector’s expertise and learnings. Importantly, AMHO and its members would be pleased to connect your government’s efforts to people and families with lived experience to share their insights.
AMHO agrees it is critical that we look closely at why Canadians consume such a high level of opioids. Action and efforts should focus not only on prescribing practices and supply of opioids, but also on the health and social determinants of addictions, including concurrent mental health issues.
We must also ensure that when people go to get help for their addiction, they have timely access to the wide range of services and supports they need to turn their lives around. Supporting better treatment options for Canadians should involve not only greater and faster access to naloxone and methadone/suboxone maintenance therapy, but also enhance other critical services and supports, such as counselling and supportive housing.
AMHO would be pleased to participate in the summit on opioid abuse, as well as meet with you to further discuss how the addictions and mental health sector can continue to support your efforts to move forward with a comprehensive approach to the opioid crisis.
Gail Czukar, CEO
Addictions and Mental Health Ontario