#HaveYourSay: Marketing of unhealthy foods to children and youth

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In my role as Chair of Ottawa Public Health (OPH), I am happy to share that OPH has launched a public consultation asking residents, businesses and sports groups to ‘have their say’ on marketing of unhealthy food and beverage to children and youth in our communities.

 

The results of the consultation will help OPH better understand what Ottawa residents think about marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children and youth in Ottawa and will be used to guide future public health work in this area.

 

A bilingual survey is now available online until August 14, 2017. In addition to the survey, residents are invited to participate in a live Facebook chat on June 21, 2017. The live chat will run from 8:00am to 3:00pm with a special noon hour presentation with guest speaker Mr. Manuel Arango, Director of Health Policy at the Heart and Stroke Foundation to discuss their report “The kids are not alright: How the food and beverage industry is marketing our children and youth to death”.

 

OPH invites all Ottawa business and industry organizations, and sports and child-focused groups to contact OPH should they wish to participate in a focus group on marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children and youth. Interested parties can do so by emailing M2CY@ottawa.ca.

 

Other opportunities to provide feedback on this public consultation include calling the OPH Information Line at 613-580-6744 (TTY: 613-580-9656),written submission via email to M2CY@ottawa.ca, regular mail, and via social media networks on Facebook and Twitter.

 

I highly encourage all residents to take a moment to provide their feedback as this is an important issue regarding how unhealthy foods and drinks are promoted to our youth. By providing feedback, you are helping to shape the healthy eating habits for children not only today but in the future of Ottawa.

 

I would like to thank OPH for pursuing this excellent initiative and also thank all residents for contributing your time to complete the survey. Thank you.

 

For additional information, please visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca.

OPH Overdose Data

Earlier this week, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) released new data regarding emergency department visits for drug overdoses in Ottawa, available by clicking here.

 

These statistics build upon the data previously released earlier this month which you can find on my website at https://shadqadri.com/2017/05/05/oph-data-report-on-overdoses/

 

This week, Public Health Ontario also released a new data tool that shows the overdose rates across the province. This data is current up to 2016 and can be found at the following link:

http://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/dataandanalytics/pages/opioid.aspx

 

In releasing the above data, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, the Chief Medical Officer of Health and Provincial Overdose Coordinator, and the Chief Coroner for Ontario issued a joint statement, which can be found here.

 

For more information on illicit Fentanyl and how to respond to an overdose, I encourage all residents to visit www.stopoverdoseottawa.ca.

Secure your meds

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This week, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) launched a “Secure Your Meds” campaign to raise awareness about prescription opioid misuse by people who use prescription drugs non-medically.

This campaign is a collaboration with the Ottawa Overdose Prevention and Response Task Force, the Health Products Stewardship Association and Drug Free Kids Canada.

As part of the launch, OPH has launched www.DrugDropOffOttawa.ca, a web tool useful for providing information for all parents to reduce the risk of kids taking and using their prescription drugs.

13% of Ottawa high school students used prescription drugs non-medically and two-thirds of students got the drug from a parent, sibling or someone else they live with.

Prescription opioids are misused more than most illegal drugs in Ottawa, and were involved in about 45% of drug overdose deaths between 2009 and 2011. Fentanyl, for the first time in 2014, was the leading cause of death due to unintentional opioid overdose death in Ottawa.

If you need to have prescription drugs at home, lock them up and check regularly for missing medication. Watch for missing medication and return unused medications to your pharmacy or at a pharmacy participating in the Ontario Medication Return Program.

 

For more information including a searchable map of where to drop off unused or expired medications, please visit www.DrugDropOffOttawa.ca.

OPH “Secure Your Meds” Campaign

prescription

This week, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) launched a “Secure Your Meds” campaign to raise awareness about prescription opioid misuse by people who use prescription drugs non-medically.

 

This campaign is a collaboration with the Ottawa Overdose Prevention and Response Task Force, the Health Products Stewardship Association and Drug Free Kids Canada.

 

As part of the launch, OPH has launched www.DrugDropOffOttawa.ca, a web tool useful for providing information for all parents to reduce the risk of kids taking and using their prescription drugs.

Didyouknow

13% of Ottawa high school students used prescription drugs non-medically and two-thirds of students got the drug from a parent, sibling or someone else they live with.

 

Prescription opioids are misused more than most illegal drugs in Ottawa, and were involved in about 45% of drug overdose deaths between 2009 and 2011. Fentanyl, for the first time in 2014, was the leading cause of death due to unintentional opioid overdose death in Ottawa.

 

If you need to have prescription drugs at home, lock them up and check regularly for missing medication.

 

For more information including a searchable map of where to drop off unused or expired medications, please visit www.DrugDropOffOttawa.ca.

Opioid Overdose Update

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I would like to take a moment to share a public service announcement that was released today from Ottawa Public Health regarding the ongoing efforts to reduce illicit opioid overdoses in Ottawa:

 

 

The Ottawa Overdose Prevention and Response Task Force (OPRTF) is alerting the public about an increase in suspected drug overdose-related emergency department visits in Ottawa in the last 72 hours – with 15 life-threatening or potentially life-threatening suspected cases reported over that time period (April 18 to April 20).

The OPRTF monitors suspected drug overdose-related emergency department data daily to be able to appropriately respond should a sharp increase of overdose-related emergency department visits occur in the community.

An overdose is a medical emergency. Anyone who suspects or witnesses an overdose should immediately call 9-1-1, even if naloxone has been given.

 

In February 2017, Ottawa Public Health and Ottawa Police Service issued an Alert of Potential Risk of Overdose from Counterfeit Prescription Pills in Ottawa being involved with life-threatening overdoses and deaths.

 

Although the OPRTF cannot confirm that these overdoses are related to intentional or counterfeit opioid-use, when a sudden increase in the number and severity of suspect drug-related emergency department visits is observed during a short period of time, there is always a possibility of counterfeit drugs being cut with opioids.

 

Residents are reminded of the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose:

  • Breathing will be slow or gone
  • Lips and nails are blue
  • Person is not moving
  • Person may be choking
  • You can hear gurgling sounds or snoring
  • Person can’t be woken up
  • Skin feels cold and clammy
  • Pupils are tiny

 

Residents who use drugs, or their loved ones, are advised of the ways to reduce their risk of overdose:

  • Avoid using drugs alone
  • Avoid mixing drugs or combining with alcohol
  • Use a small amount first to test strength
  • Use less drug(s) when tolerance may be lower (change in health status or weight, recent release from prison, treatment program or hospital)

Getting drugs from a non-medical source such as a friend, ordering online, or a drug dealer is very risky and potentially life-threatening. There is no way to know what is actually in them or how toxic they may be. Drugs should only be purchased or obtained from a local pharmacy or a registered medical professional.

 

To help police find the sources of counterfeit pills, it is important to report this information to police. You can call Crime Stoppers and report anonymously. Submit an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), texting CRIMES (274637), keyword “tip252”. You can also download the Ottawa Police Service app for iOS or Android.

 

Naloxone can buy time while paramedics are en route. You can get a take-home naloxone kit for free from pharmacies and other agencies in Ottawa. To find a participating pharmacy near you check this list of pharmacies that have naloxone. For more about overdoses and how to prevent them, visit StopOverdoseOttawa.ca

Members of the Ottawa Overdose Prevention and Response Task Force, include Ottawa Public Health, Ottawa Paramedic Services, Ottawa Police Service, Ottawa Fire Services, OC Transpo, The Ottawa Hospital, The Royal Ottawa Hospital, Montfort Hospital, Queensway Carleton Hospital, The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario,  Rideauwood Addictions and Family Services, The Office of the Regional Coroner, Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres, Respect Pharmacy, Champlain Local Health Intergration Network, Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre, Ottawa Carleton Pharmacist Association, Direction de santé publique, Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de l’Outaouais.

Board of Health Meeting Recap

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On Monday, April 3rd, the Ottawa Board of Health held its second meeting of 2017.

Updates were made to the Board on a number of emerging public health issues, including:

  • OPH participation in the annual Ontario Public Health Convention (TOPHC);
  • Health system transformation; and
  • A recent legal challenge to the City’s Water Pipe (Hookah) By-law.

The Board then considered the following substantive items:

Ottawa Public Health 2016 Annual Report

OPH released its 2016 Annual Report, which was formally received by the Board and will be rising to City Council on April 12th. This report highlights OPH’s many accomplishments from 2016.

Healthy Eating, Active Living: Protecting Vulnerable Populations Through Restrictions in Marketing of Foods and Beverages

At its meeting of February 13, 2017, the Ottawa Board of Health approved a Motion directing staff to bring forward a report outlining policy options at the municipal level further to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada’s “Report on Health of Canadians – The Kids Are Not Alright”, as well as a plan for engaging the community and stakeholders on same. This builds on OPH’s work with respect to Strategic Direction #1 – Inspire and Support Healthy Eating and Active Living.

In considering this report, the Board received a staff presentation and heard from 10 public delegations, all in support of the report recommendations.

From a public health perspective, OPH supports the restriction of marketing of food and beverages to children and youth and the initial steps taken by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and Health Canada in addressing this issue. As a result of the Board of Health’s approval of the above-referenced report, OPH will consult with the general public, community groups, City departments and various other stakeholders, on five (5) possible policy options at the municipal level. A subsequent report will be brought forward to the Board in the fall of 2017.

Update on Opioids and the Risk of Unintentional Overdoses in Ottawa

This “walk on” report provided updates on the recent work of the Overdose Prevention and Response Task Force as well as OPH’s response to opioids and the risk of unintentional overdoses in Ottawa. In considering this item, Board members received a staff presentation and heard from one (1) public delegation.

As a result of the Board’s approval of this report, the Chair of the Board of Health and the Medical Officer of Health will send a joint letter to the federal government in support of Bill C-224, the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act.

In addition to the above, the Board received the following reports without discussion:

You can watch the meeting on YouTube. Every meeting is webcast live and archived videos are posted online within days of the meeting.

If you have any questions regarding the Board of Health please feel free to contact me.

Opioid Awareness Web Series

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is hosting an Opioid Awareness Web Series aimed at answering questions about prevention and response of opioid overdose in our community.

 

This web series will be streamed live via YouTube, with a Public Health Nurse available for questions throughout the live stream. Following the presentation, a video will be posted to StopOverDoseOttawa.ca.

 

The first event, calledOpioids 101”, takes place April 11th from 12-1:00 PM and will provide an overview on opioids, illicit fentanyl, signs and symptoms of overdose, and naloxone access in the community.
The second session, on How to talk to youth about drugs”, will take place April 18th from 12-1 PM and discuss Opioid overdose prevention, tips on how to “have THAT talk”, and supports in schools and community

Didyouknow

Residents can get free take-home Naloxone kits from several pharmacies in Ottawa, and to check if your pharmacy is carrying them you can go to the Ontario Ministry of Health website here.

 

Please Register in advance of these series should you wish to attend.

 

For more information, please see StopOverdoseOttawa.ca or ParentingInOttawa.ca/StopOverdose

School Presentations on Opioids with Ottawa Public Health

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As a response to the recent surge in illicit opioid overdoses in our communities, the Board of Education has partnered with Ottawa Public Health (OPH) and a variety of other community groups in conducting presentations at some schools to share information with concerned parents and students.

 

As Chair of the Board of Health, I have been pleased to lend my support and speak with many of you at these presentations, fielding any questions.

 

I have also heard interest expressed by some residents unable to attend one of these information sessions for a recap of some of the information covered at these meetings. You can now find Ottawa Public Health’s presentation to these schools at the attached link.

 

I would like to thank the Ottawa Carleton District School Board for the opportunity to help shed some light on this difficult subject as well as OPH’s community partners, Ottawa Police Services, Rideauwood Addiction and Family Services, Youth Services Bureau, and all those who came out to share their resources with the community.
I encourage residents to reach out to Ottawa Public Health with any additional questions you may have. Awareness is the first step toward remedying any problem. Please email OPH at healthsante@ottawa.ca. I, as your Councillor, also welcome your inquiries.

 

Please visit www.stopoverdoseottawa.ca for more information.

Good Food Corner Stores Initiative

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Ottawa Public Health is working with community partners to increase fresh produce and other good foods at corner stores in neighbourhoods that residents have barriers to accessing food.

 

Residents often rely on corner stores (CS) to buy food if they live in a neighbourhood that lacks grocery stores. The most disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Ottawa have more CS and less full scale grocery stores per thousand people than the more advantaged neighbourhoods.

 

In Ottawa, 23 of 39 low-income neighbourhoods are classified as ‘food deserts’ – grocery stores and other food retailers are not available or easily accessible. There are 555 CS in Ottawa. Half of these CS (279) are located in low income neighbourhoods. Thirty seven percent of Ottawa’s residents live in these neighbourhoods.

 

The Good Food Corner Store Initiative brings fresh, affordable and minimally processed foods to corner stores in neighbourhoods that have barriers to accessing food.

 

As Chair of the Board of Health, I am thrilled to see this initiative take place and look forward to seeing just what healthy choices we will be seeing in the future. It is my hope that one day, accessible healthy choices be made available to all residents.

 

For more information on this and other healthy living idea, please visit Ottawa Public Health’s page on the City of Ottawa website here.

National Non-smoking Week

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As Chair of the Board of Health, I am pleased to inform residents that next week is National Non-Smoking Week. The week has existed for over 30 years as an advocacy for Canadians to pursue smoke-free lifestyles and encourage existing smokers to challenge themselves to quit.

 

Ottawa Public Health has put together a short youtube video to build on the campaign which you can view below. Over 80,000 people in Ottawa consider themselves smokers and most of them want to quit. Next week, from January 15-21, I would like to extend the challenge to all smokers willing to accept it.

Help make 2017 a year of good health for all and look to those around you for their encouragement. With support, you can double your chances of quitting. Visit http://www.myquit.ca for more information or call 1-877-376-1701.