Author(s): Fischer B, Popova S, Rehm J, Ivsins A
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To compare rates of fatal drug-related overdose death (OD) cases--a major harm outcome of illicit substance use--in the two provinces of British Columbia (BC) and Ontario, and the two largest municipalities in those provincial jurisdictions, namely the cities of Vancouver and Toronto, between 1992 and 2004. METHODS: Provincial coroners' data of drug-related OD cases for the provincial jurisdictions of BC and Ontario, and the municipal jurisdictions of Vancouver and Toronto, are descriptively presented and compared. RESULTS: After drastic increases in the initial part of the observation period, OD rates in BC have been declining; moreover, due to major reductions of OD cases in Vancouver, the ratio of OD cases between Vancouver and the province of BC has fallen considerably. Conversely, OD rates in Ontario have remained stable at low levels, whereas Toronto has seen a slight decline in such rates during the observation period. INTERPRETATION: The recent establishment and expansion of treatment and harm reduction interventions may have influenced the decline of ODs in BC, yet similar interventions in Ontario did not have a similar effect, perhaps due to different patterns of illicit drug use. OD rates in jurisdictions across Canada need to be monitored and analyzed to inform evidence-based policy development.
This article was published in Can J Public Health
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy