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“If it weren’t for the pandemic, opioid-related fatalities would be the greatest public health crisis in a generation,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO, CMHA Ontario.
In addition to 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 recommends:
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.
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).