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Opioid-related deaths are at an all-time high, reminder of how COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the overdose crisis: Dr. Theresa Tam

BY , Dec 18, 2020 10:24 PM - REPORT AN ERROR

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference in Ottawa, Tuesday Dec. 1, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Canada's chief public health officer says recent data suggesting opioid-related deaths are at an all-time high is a sobering reminder of how the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the overdose crisis.

Dr. Theresa Tam says there were more than 1,600 opioid-related deaths in Canada between April and June, the highest number recorded in a quarter since national surveillance began in 2016.

Dr. Tam says prior to the pandemic's onset, some parts of the country were seeing early signs that opioid-related deaths were on the decline, but the COVID-19 crisis seems to have reversed those gains.

She says Canada's COVID-19 caseload is also on the rise, with an average of more than 6,650 infections reported per day over the past week.

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