FREDERICTON (GNB) – Additional resources are being added to the provincial government’s response to opioid misuse and overdose in New Brunswick.

“We recognize that there is a growing epidemic of opioid use in Canada,” said Health Minister Benoît Bourque. “Today, we are taking another step to address opioid use and overdoses in New Brunswick.

Bourque made the announcement today at a symposium on opioids held in Fredericton.

Through a two-year agreement with the Public Health Agency of Canada, an epidemiologist has been added to the team of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health to enhance surveillance capacity related to this issue.

An additional resource will be identified to assist in prioritizing gaps in services and programs needed to address harmful opioid usage. The resources will also assist in developing a long-term approach to mitigate the harmful use of opioids.

Opioids are medications that are used to treat moderate to severe pain. Most opioids are available only by prescription and the type and dose prescribed may be different for each patient. There are many dangerous and unpredictable effects from prescription drug abuse, including addiction, overdose and death.

“The additional resources are most welcome and will assist us in developing a long-term approach to mitigate the use of opioids in our province,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, acting chief medical officer of health.

The Department of Health recently announced that naloxone kits will be distributed to target populations through needle exchange programs with AIDS New Brunswick, SIDA/AIDS Moncton and AIDS Saint John as well as with withdrawal management services operated through both regional health authorities.

Twenty-five deaths due to any type of drug (opioids and non-opioids) occurred between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2017. Of these, 17 were related to opioids

Additional information on opioids and its effects is available online.