I have been at many community events and activities in Cambridge and North Dumfries where a number of members of our community have expressed concerns about needles in Cambridge, and the larger opioid crisis. Like many of you, I have children who are active in the community and the risk of needles in public places is one that I take very seriously.
This is a complex issue that requires action from organizations, citizens, healthcare providers, and governments to ensure effective and compassionate results.
All levels of government have specific roles to play in this area, and I wanted to talk about the federal response. There are also ongoing programs at the City, Regional and Provincial level.
The federal government has acted swiftly and specifically in response to this crisis, and provided more than $116 million in funding to help address this crisis.
This funding is being directed to community-based solutions and projects which reduce drug use and its effects. It also works to prevent and control infectious diseases which can be transferred through the sharing of needles.
These funds will be invested in national measures to help get the new Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy running and provide funds to help the provinces pay for new measures in their role as the provider of medical services in Canada.
As a Member of Parliament and Chair of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development, and Persons with Disabilities (HUMA), the issue of poverty is always top of mind for me. I recently lead the Committee on a study of Poverty Reduction and Affordable Housing, and understanding how these issues intersect is critical to addressing the problem of drug abuse, and I am looking forward to the release of the National Housing Strategy.
Part of the solution provided by the federal government is public awareness and a campaign to ensure everyone understands the risks and challenges that come from substance use, particularly when opioids are being laced into other drugs.
There is significant work being done by governments, organizations, and individuals to address this serious issue. The Federal government will continue to work with the provinces on this issue, and all levels of government are aware that more work needs to be done.
If you are having issues with needles and require immediate assistance the City of Cambridge has a resource for safe needle disposal: https://www.cambridge.ca/en/your-city/safe-needle-disposal.aspx
If you have any questions about the federal response, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
All my best
Bryan May, MP