I am pleased to share that at this week’s City Council, Mayor Jim Watson put forward a motion seconded by myself, to formally request that the province provide additional funding to address the opioid crisis in our city and its associated concerns. The requested investment would go towards everything from mental health and addictions treatment to early intervention for children and youth and harm reduction services for those who need them. I am happy to share that the motion was carried on unanimous consent and I am hopeful that the province will consider this important request.
The motion reads:
WHEREAS opioid overdoses in Ontario and Ottawa have been increasing over the past number of years and, in 2017, Ottawa experienced the largest number of opioid overdose-related emergency room visits to date, averaging about 30 per month; and WHEREAS the provincial government has recognized that addiction to opioids is a chronic disease, and has provided funding for treatment to the Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN); and WHEREAS the Board of Health for the City of Ottawa, in concert with City departments and local service providers, has participated in an Opioid Overdose Prevention and Response Task Force which has focused on: (1) surveillance, (2) prevention, working with schools, community-based agencies, parents and youth, and (3) harm reduction services, including establishing a supervised injection service, involving people with lived experience, and promoting access to naloxone; and WHEREAS the Acting Medical Officer of Health for Ottawa Public Health has been in conversation with local health care service providers about the requirement for additional resources to meet the increasing need to counter the increase in opioid-related emergencies;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that City Council approve that the Mayor formally ask the Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care for additional investment in mental health and addictions treatment services in the City of Ottawa, with a focus on early intervention for children and youth, assisting people with lived experience in system navigation, rapid access addictions medicine clinics and treatment facilities, community-based withdrawal management, and support for OTTAWA CITY COUNCIL 14 AGENDA 64 WEDNESDAY, 14 FEBRUARY 2018 primary care physicians to provide appropriate pain management and treatment for opioid use disorder.
I would like to thank Mayor Watson and our Interim Medical Officer of Health, Dr Vera Etches along with Ottawa Public Health for their on going support to ensure the health and wellbeing of our community.