SPHERU researchers talk how opioid addictions must be addressed on a policy level

October 12, 2017

SPHERU’s Gabriela Novotna and Tom McIntosh recently wrote an opinion editorial of how opioids have escalated from a medical issue to a population health crisis.

The piece goes on to describe how opioid overdoses began with over-prescription of painkillers like OxyContin, which then eventually lead to the illegal production and distribution of fentanyl.

They explain how first responders are now better equipped to stop overdoses with naloxone, however the individual will most likely be “processed into the criminal justice system.”

Novotna and McIntosh point out that the steps being taken now are fine as first steps, but long-term strategies must view addictions as a health issue, not a criminal issue.  

“We recognize that this is calling for a major policy shift in how we discuss addiction. But as the fentanyl deaths continue to claim more and more lives, we cannot continue to pretend that we are on the path to solving this problem when every indicator says otherwise. The evidence is strong. It is our mindset that needs changing.”

For more, read the op-ed as it first appeared in iPolitics, and later picked up by Evidence Network, the Winnipeg Free Press, Huffington Post Canada and HuffPo Quebec


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