Ontario is facing a spike in opioid related overdoses as a result of what many experts outline as an increase in opioid prescribing over the past few decades. Reports have stated that one in eight deaths of Ontarians between the ages of 25 and 34 is related to opioid use, and Toronto has seen a 77 percent increase in overdose deaths in the past decade, rising to 258 in 2014. There have been repeated calls for the government of Ontario to create an emergency plan to actively address the issue of opioid addiction and overdose. Ontario’s first comprehensive opioid strategy was established in October of 2016. The opioid crisis remains a complex health and social issue with devastating consequences for individuals, families, and communities.

Tara Gomes is an epidemiologist and a Principal Investigator of the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network (ODPRN). Tara is also a Scientist in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences,and an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto. Much of Tara’s research has focused on pharmacoepidemiology, drug safety and drug policy research leveraging large, administrative databases, and she has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and over 50 policy reports in this area. She has worked closely with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to develop evidence to inform policies related to opioid use and abuse in Ontario and has served as an expert for the United States Food and Drug Administration and the United States Department of Transportation in discussions related to opioid policies and regulations.

Dr. Hance Clarke is a Staff Anesthesiologist, Medical Director of the Pain Research Unit, Director of  Pain Services and the Director of Transitional Pain Service at Toronto General Hospital. He is also an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto’s Department of Anesthesia, has been appointed to the Institute of Medical Sciences and is also a graduate of the Royal College Clinician Scientist Program. Through his work, he has provided significant empirical findings related to opioid use after major surgery. Dr. Clarke published the largest study, based on more than 39 000 patients who had undergone major elective surgery in Ontario, identifying those on opioid use.

Pam Abeysekara & Katerina Kalenteridis, Hosts
Angela Kim, Producer
Celine Caira & Richard Tang, Technical Producers
Samira Basir, Executive Producer

Music Credits
I Feel It Coming by The Weekend ft. Daft Punk
Summer Vibes by Derin Falana
Dougou Badia by Amabou and Mariam ft. Santigold

Music/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0