By The Canadian Press
OTTAWA – New national figures released by public health officials show an estimated 2,458 people died in Canada from opioid-related overdoses in 2016.
The data from the Public Health Agency of Canada suggests a death rate of 8.8 per cent per 100,000 people, and that the West is feeling the brunt of the impact.
The agency says data from Quebec is not currently available.
The numbers were released by the agency on behalf of a federal, provincial and territorial advisory committee on the opioid overdose epidemic.
The committee, created in December 2016, is chaired by Canada’s interim chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief public health officer.
Health Canada says opioids affect the part of the brain that controls breathing and taking more pills than the body can handle can cause breathing to slow, contributing to unconsciousness and death.