On Thursday, Guelph Member of Parliament Lloyd Longfield met with some of the people on the frontline of Guelph’s drug strategy, while highlighting millions in new funding to help combat the ongoing opioid crisis in Guelph and other Canadian communities. At the same time, Guelph Police are warning the public of a new drug treat tied to three overdoses.
“Guelph continues to see a rise in overdoses, and fatalities, relating to opioids and other substances being used on the street through illegal and unsafe supply,” said Longfield in a media release. “Through increased funding and support, the federal government is addressing saving lives and reducing harm in Guelph by providing safe supply in a clinical environment to assist the most vulnerable in our community while at the same time making our community safer.”
The announcement highlights over $100 million that was set aside in this year’s Federal Budget to combat the opioid crisis and respond to other drug-related threats to the community. The new money includes $41.8 million to scale up key life-saving measures in underserved communities, $33.6 million to mitigate the impacts of the illegal drug supply, and $31.3 million to identify and address emerging drug threats, and the growing use of methamphetamines.
“Smaller cities and rural and remote areas across the country are disproportionately affected by the opioid crisis. We’re helping them address it by increasing access to and evaluating safer alternatives to the contaminated illegal drug supply and expanding access to life-saving measures in underserved communities,” said Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor in the release.
“At the same time, we’re working to ensure that all our communities have the tools they need to deal with other emerging substance issues, like the rise in methamphetamine use,” she added.
In addition to the new spending, there are two calls for proposals: approximately $50 million for initiatives through Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program and approximately $3.5 million through the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Pathways to Care program.
Guelph’s frontline workers welcome the new funding for harm reduction, and are positive that it will make a practical difference in the Royal City.
“We are grateful for the many proactive and courageous health policy changes enabled by our federal government, including the most recent announcement related to providing safer drug supply,” said Raechelle Devereaux, the Executive Director of the Guelph Community Health Centre. “These investments will inarguably save lives, and we look forward to applying for funds to further expand harm reduction opportunities for the community members of Guelph.”
“Enhancing harm reduction initiatives, new approaches to supporting stimulant users and providing pharmaceutical grade safe supplies are all areas that local partners are well positioned to pursue,” added Adrienne Crowder, Manager of the Wellington Guelph Drug Strategy. “WGDS partners are excited by the possibilities that this new funding provides.”
Beware White Fentanyl
As Longfield announced new spending to battle drug issues, the Guelph Police Service issued a very specific warning about White Fentanyl in the community.
“The Wellington Guelph Drug Strategy (WGDS) describes White Fentanyl as having icing sugar consistency and seems to be extremely potent. The WGDS also states that atypical overdose symptoms includes arms/legs/hands with muscle rigidity and clenching,” said a police media release.
The Guelph Police added that three overdoses on Wednesday alone are tied to the use of White Fentanyl, and are warning users to reduce their risk by carrying naloxone, not using alone, and “starting low and go slow.”