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Opinion

Canada must hold drug companies accountable for opioid crisis

By NDP MP Don Davies      

New Democrats call on the federal government to launch an investigation into these firms’ role in fuelling Canada’s opioid problem.

Alberta announced last year it would expand its program to allow first responders to administer naloxone by injection, the antidote to an opioid overdose. NDP health critic Don Davies writes Canadian governments have easily spent more than $1-billion dealing with the opioid crisis. Government of Alberta photograph by Chris Schwarz
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Canada is the world's second-biggest consumer of pharmaceutical opioids—second only to the United States. To put that in perspective, retail pharmacies across Canada dispensed 19 million prescriptions for opioids in 2016, up slightly from 18.9 million in 2015. That’s more than one prescription for every two Canadians. The opioid crisis has now claimed the lives of more than 10,000 Canadians. In 2017 alone, the death toll from opioid overdoses was expected to hit more than 4,000—that’s more than motor vehicle accidents and homicides combined. Of course, there

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