Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Media release: Mayor Eisenberger, Public Health Convene Opioid Response Summit

HAMILTON, ON – January 10, 2017 – Mayor Fred Eisenberger and City of Hamilton Public Health Services convenes Opioid Response Summit scheduled for Thursday, January 26, 2017 to discuss opioids and the emergence of high potency opioids, such as carfentanil, in Hamilton. Invitees include representatives from the Coroner's Office, Hamilton Police Service, Hamilton Paramedic Service, Hamilton Fire Service, emergency departments, primary care, community health organizations, addictions and harm reduction services, and housing, along with those with lived experience.

“All opioid misuse is a concern as it harms individuals, families, communities, and also puts pressure on first responders, the health care system, and community services” says Dr. Jessica Hopkins, City of Hamilton Associate Medical Officer of Health, “this summit is about mobilizing key institutions to better understand our collective challenges and opportunities to effectively prevent and respond to increased overdoses.”

“This is an issue we take very seriously. Ultimately we want to prevent overdoses and deaths, and promote health in the community” said Mayor Fred Eisenberger. “I had the opportunity this past November 18, 2016 to listen in on the day long Opioid Conference held in Ottawa. This has been characterized as a crisis in Canada, with dire warnings and predictions for the situation worsening in the Eastern Provinces.

I am proud to champion this issue and continue to lend my support in convening a table of local leaders and stakeholders to forge a partnership to deal with this together. Additionally, I will be participating in an observation with the Van Needle Syringe program in the next couple of weeks to observe firsthand the situation in our community at street-level.”

City of Hamilton Comprehensive Approach to Drug and Substance Misuse

Locally Public Health Services uses the Four Pillar approach to guide work to decrease the risks of drug and substance misuse in Hamilton and optimize health in the community. The Four Pillar approach involves: Prevention, Harm Reduction, Treatment, and Enforcement.

Harm Reduction acknowledges that people do use drugs and is about preventing the harms caused by drug use through interventions to decrease the health effects and keep individuals, families, and the community safer. Immediate goals of harm reduction include saving lives, decreasing disease, and improving public spaces; while longer-term goals may help clients to better engage in the health or social service system leading to the potential to decrease or stop drug misuse.

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