Sweeping changes are underway to tackle opioids in Canada.

The federal government is announcing new measures, from enhanced addiction therapy to cracking down on the illegal drug trade.

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor shared some startling statistics on Wednesday, saying more than 10,000 Canadians have died from opioid-related overdoses between 2016 and 2018. That’s a number that has been climbing.

“It's complex and challenging from every angle, be it social, medical or legal. Yet we must remember: no one wakes up one morning and decides to get addicted to opioids,” Minister Petitpas Taylor says. “This is a human tragedy and our response must be compassionate when addressing it.”

She says no corner in Canada is being spared from this tragedy, one that takes a life every three hours.

Three new measures to combat these numbers:

  • Enhanced treatment for severe opioid addictions, allowing injectable hydromorphone and prescription heroin
  • More funding for treatment, harm reduction and research
  • New rules allowing border security to stop certain chemicals commonly used to make street forms of fentanyl from entering Canada

This year alone, there have been 28 suspected opioid-related deaths in Waterloo Region.