One hundred years ago to this very day an assassination was carried out in Sarajevo, an event that would trigger a war larger and more egregious than any the world had seen before it. A different kind of war, one that would last far longer and eventually affect many more nations, was just months from beginning in earnest.
Did you know that more people die from accidental overdose than motor vehicle accidents in Toronto?
This is just one fact that sparked the Apathy and Overdose Forum on June 18th in downtown Toronto. The topic of the evening was quite timely, particularly after the CBC coverage on the rise of opiate use. Tonight’s forum was called “Apathy and Overdose,” focusing on accidental drug overdose, and was broken down into two speakers and one panel with individuals who had experience in some way with overdose.
The Canadian Harm Reduction Network along with Jac’s Voice, the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, John Howard Society Toronto, Patients Canada, and Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy, have organized a free public forum, titled “Apathy and Overdose.”
Dr. Philip Berger will act as the moderator for the forum. Guest speakers include Donald MacPherson (Executive Director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, who also published Vancouver’s “Four Pillars Drug Strategy”), as well as Dan Bigg (Founder and Director of the Chicago Recovery Alliance).
Anywhere you turn today, you will hear cries of a prescription-painkiller epidemic. These painkillers are part of a class of drugs known as opioids, of which heroin is also a member. The touting of an epidemic is not incorrect: opioid overdoses have been rising dramatically in the United States over the past several years. The situation is similar in Canada, which has the second-highest level of opioid consumption per capita in the world according to the International Narcotics Control Board. However, there are some major misconceptions surrounding opioid addiction and overdose that lead to both stigmatization and an increased likelihood of overdose death among the population that uses these drugs.