Toronto Overdose Action Plan: Update 2019

Summary of Key Actions

Since the Toronto Board of Health endorsed the Toronto Overdose Action Plan in March 2017, all levels of government have taken action to address the overdose crisis, including funding new overdose prevention and response measures. A one-year status report on implementation of the Action Plan was submitted to the Board of Health in June 2018, and the Board and City Council reaffirmed their commitment to address the opioid crisis in Toronto.

Below are some of the key actions taken to date:

Decriminalization and legal regulation:

  • Advocacy for decriminalization of the possession of all drugs for personal use, and to explore options for the legal regulation of all drugs in Canada.

Indigenous health:

  • Development of a Toronto Indigenous Overdose Strategy that will be released in February 2019.

Naloxone and overdose training:

  • Significant increase in the availability of free naloxone to people who use drugs, and family and friends, across the city.
  • Significant increase in City and community service providers having naloxone on-site, and staff trained in overdose recognition and response.
  • First responders – fire, paramedic and select police officers – carry naloxone.
  • Naloxone is offered to at-risk individuals discharged from provincial prisons, and is available for use by staff onsite in all provincial prisons.

Outreach:

  • Expanded harm reduction/peer outreach at community services across the city.

Supervised consumption services:

  • Implementation of four supervised consumption services and five overdose prevention sites.

Drug checking:

  • Implementation of a comprehensive drug checking project involving supervised consumption services and hospital labs is expected to begin in early 2019.

Treatment:

  • Ongoing efforts to support implementation of managed opioid programs (e.g. diacetylmorphine/pharmaceutical heroin and/or hydromorphone) to move people to a safer drug supply.
  • Expansion to nine Rapid Access to Addiction Medicine (RAAM) clinics.
  • Increased access to Suboxoneäand other opioid substitution treatments.
  • Expanded nursing support in withdrawal management services.

Good Samaritan legislation:

  • Passage of the federal Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act, which protects people from arrest of certain drug possession charges at an overdose scene.

Grief and Trauma:

  • Implementation of a trauma and grief pilot project for people affected by fatal and non-fatal overdoses.

Public education:

  • Expanded public education about overdose prevention and response to parents of high-school youth, and students in colleges and universities, and the general public.
  • Implementation of campaign to help reduce stigma against people who use drugs.

Data and information:

  • Development of the Toronto Overdose Information System with regularly updated information related to the opioid crisis.
  • Added ability to report overdoses through the ReportBadDrugsTO.ca website.