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I choose:

helping people struggling with addictions

Here are three things you can do to take action:

  • Ask your candidate on Facebook or Twitter: “Will you support harm reduction measures like safer supply to help those living with substance use challenges?”

 

It was busy last week on the campaign trail when it came to addiction, with Ontario’s opioid crisis taking centre stage.

The first election debate on May 9th prompted party leaders to talk about opioid-related deaths in the hard-hit north. Later, the Liberals unveiled their mental health and addiction plan and the NDP had a coffee shop discussion with residents about mental health care. Opioid addiction was central to these events (read the media coverage).

In spite of all the commitments, though, Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario issued this news release stating that all parties are not doing enough to address the problem.

“If it weren’t for the pandemic, this would be the greatest public health crisis in a generation,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO, CMHA Ontario. “The commitment from the parties is a start but the measures simply don’t go far enough.”

Aside from opioid-related fatalities, rates of gambling and consumption of alcohol, tobacco and cannabis also increased during the pandemic.

Aside from opioid-related harm, many CMHAs across Ontario are focused on helping people with other substance use and behavioural addictions.

On alcohol, cannabis and gambling for example, CMHA Ontario would recommend:

  • Maintaining/extending controls on availability and access to alcohol, including days/hours of sale, minimum ages and reductions of outlet density.

  • Boosting education and health promotion efforts, including mandating information on packaging about lower-risk drinking guidelines and lower-risk cannabis use guidelines.

  • Funding/supporting the expansion of programs and supports for safer gambling delivered by the mental health and addiction sector and other community agencies, independent of the gambling/gaming industry.

  • Delivering provincial public awareness campaigns on lower-risk gambling with a focus on online gambling, the potential harms of gambling and ways to reduce harms.  

CMHA Ontario’s “I choose” campaign will use this election to spotlight different issues that are negatively impacting mental health and addiction care in this province.

When heading to the ballot box, we hope you will support the political party that prioritizes mental health and addiction care.

If you have concerns about addiction, mental health or gambling addiction and are seeking treatment or information, contact ConnexOntario (Ontario’s treatment and information directory of services for mental health, addiction as well as other concerns).