By The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — The Public Health Agency of Canada says 11,577 people died from apparent-opioid-related overdoses between January 2016 and December 2018.
It also says that new data reported as of May 15 show that 4,460 people died in 2018 alone and many of these deaths were related to the contamination of the illegal drug supply.
The agency says an analysis of national trends suggests there was a significant increase in death rates between January 2016 and June 2017.
It says the rates also remained high from July 2017 to December 2018 and that Western Canada remains the most affected region of the country.
The co-chairs of the Special Advisory Committee on the Epidemic of Opioid Overdoses — Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam and Saskatchewan Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab — issued a statement to say the epidemic remains the most challenging public-health crisis in decades.
They say fentanyl and other fentanyl-related substances continue to be a major driver of the crisis.