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March 13, 2017
Toronto Public Health proposes Overdose Action Plan
The City of Toronto has experienced a 73 per cent increase in reported overdose deaths over the past decade. To address this serious public health issue, Toronto Public Health is presenting an Overdose Action Plan to the Toronto Board of Health on March 20. The plan offers a series of actions and recommendations to all levels of government to help prevent and respond to overdoses.

"Drug overdoses are an urgent public health issue that is having a devastating impact on individuals, families and communities," said Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Toronto's Acting Medical Officer of Health. "Our Overdose Action Plan builds on the work already underway in our community, identifies new areas for action at the local level and recommends actions for the provincial and federal governments."

The report provides overdose prevention and response strategies and recommendations including:
• Provide support and training to City and community agencies in the development of overdose prevention protocols
• Ensure substance use treatment is available on demand with options to meet individual needs
• Address barriers to calling 911 for emergency medical assistance during an overdose
• Make supervised injection services available to provide a hygienic place to inject drugs with onsite medical intervention in case of overdose
• Provide drug checking programs to enable people to test illicit drugs for the presence of toxic contaminants, adulterants or unexpected drugs
• Develop "real-time" overdose surveillance and monitoring systems for all levels of government.

Community consultations were held in January and February and an online survey was available to gather input from the public on a draft action plan and ideas for further action on overdose prevention. Many stakeholders participated in this consultation process, which focused on what the City and other governments can do to prevent and respond to drug overdoses in the community. The final Toronto Overdose Action Plan combines the knowledge and expertise of these individuals and those working in the field with best practices and international research in this area.

"This plan represents our commitment to work with our community partners and government to take action on this critical public health issue," added Dr. Yaffe.

More information is available

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. In 2017, Toronto will honour Canada's 150th birthday with "TO Canada with Love," a year-long program of celebrations, commemorations and exhibitions. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us on Twitter at and on Instagram at

Media Contact
Lenore Bromley
Toronto Public Health



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