We’ve heard a lot about one health crisis this year, the one tied to a global pandemic that broke the economy, brought healthcare to the brink, and pretty much shutdown society for four months earlier this year. But while COVID-19 has been our preoccupation in 2020, there has been another public health issue in our community at the same time, and it’s one that started before the pandemic and has stayed with us through the darkest days of the last 10 months.
The ongoing issues of drug addiction in Guelph came to the fore once again last week with two items in the news. First, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health issued a warning about another overdose death in Guelph related to fentanyl. And then on Friday, Guelph Police announced that they had successfully arrested 16 people on 34 drug-related charges. These are the stories that break through the news cycle, but what about all the daily stories of struggle and suffering by those afflicted with addiction?
A report from Public Health Ontario in June noted a nearly 40 per cent increase in the number of overdose deaths in the first 15 weeks of the pandemic. Most of those deaths were accidental in nature, and many of them are being driven by circumstances exacerbated by the pandemic itself. While you can easily say that the COVID-19 pandemic has made our drug and overdose pandemic worse, there has not been such swift and immediate reaction to the drug crisis as there has been to COVID-19.
To talk about all these issues, and more, we’re joined by Adrienne Crowder, who is the manager of the Wellington Guelph Drug Strategy. Crowder will talk about the number of overdoses in Guelph-Wellington this year, and how support services have had to adjust in the pandemic. She will also talk about the ways COVID has impacted addiction issues, including the ways it’s affected the fight to get more support, and how the pandemic has affected mental health issues that are so key to understanding addiction.
So let’s look at the other pandemic of 2020 on this week’s edition of the Guelph Politicast!
To learn more about the Wellington Guelph Drug Strategy and their programs, you can visit their website. To learn about the Consumption and Treatment Site, and other programs, you can visit the Guelph Community Health Centre at their website.
Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.