Health minister says Canadians need to avoid judging those addicted to opioids

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 10:43 GMT, Sep 22, 2017 |

As the opioid epidemic continues to march across the country, destroying an ever increasing number of lives, the federal health minister says people have fallen into the habit of passing judgment on those who are addicted to the drug.

Ginette Petitpas Taylor, who spent 25 years working with the RCMP in Codiac, N.B. as a social worker, says she saw people struggle with the stigma of addiction all too often.

“It’s easy to judge, it really is, until you’re someone personally affected by this situation. Many times we just don’t realize these people have a story. And they’re our loved ones and they have families. So it’s a struggle for a lot of people,” Pettipas Taylor told CBC News.

The Public Health Agency of Canada said there were 2,816 “apparent opioid related deaths” in Canada in 2016. That’s an average of eight people a day.

A breakdown of those numbers shows a problem with illicit fentanyl in the West, but in Eastern Canada, the crisis is fuelled by prescription opioids.

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