Fact or Fiction: Will decriminalizing and regulating illegal drugs save lives in Ontario?

As COVID-19 continues to devastate the country, a silent epidemic armed with an unregulated poison has killed Ontarians at an appalling rate.

Several health officials have raised the alarm about the impact of border closures on the illicit drug supply in Ontario, particularly opioids.

Closed borders mean drug manufacturers no longer have access to smuggled substances. Therefore, they reduce their supply with what they have available – substances like carfentanil, a sedative for elephants that is far more deadly.

Lockdown and physical distancing also mean drug users have had to find new, nearby suppliers who sell substances they have not used before.

Cue the perfect storm for an accidental overdose.

“The toxicity of drug supplies has changed dramatically due to border closings,” said Adrienne Spafford, CEO of Addictions and Mental Health Ontario. “Since COVID-19 in Ontario, we’ve seen deaths from overdose increase by 35 to 40 percent weekly.”

A harrowing number? According to Spafford, three quarters of these people used it alone.

Paramedics are trying to keep up with the growing toxicity of opioids.

“If you turn the calendar back five years, we used to give 0.4 mg, or 2 mg would be the absolute maximum for naloxone,” said Darryl Wilton, president of the Ontario Paramedic Association.

Up to 20 mg of naloxone was given to reverse the effects of a strong opioid – 50 times higher than the starting dose, Wilton said.

“Most Ontario paramedics – where we used to only carry 4 mg in every ambulance – now carry an average of 12 mg of naloxone in Ontario, which is readily available in every ambulance, especially because things like purple heroin are so much more powerful. “

The dire situation is causing more and more people to look carefully at how things would change if the government intervened.

“When you have an unregulated product, there is always a chance it could be adulterated or contaminated,” said Andy Hathaway, professor of sociology at the University of Guelph.

“Decriminalizing illicit drugs has potential benefits as it recognizes that harm reduction saves lives.”

Decriminalization means removing criminal penalties for personal drug use and possession.

This would mean that mass incarceration for property – which affects black, indigenous and colored people in particular – would be reduced.

According to Spafford, Wilton, and Hathaway, it would also mean public perception is shifting to viewing addiction as a public health crisis rather than a criminal.

“As part of legalization … there are increasing opportunities to understand the user’s motivations and reasons for using them, aside from being a so-called ‘criminal’ or a ‘drug addict’,” Hathaway said.

Rather than focus on monitoring and punishing drug users, Hathaway and Spafford say the government is instead allocating resources to treating addiction and the circumstances that cause it, such as social inequality, access to education, and precarious jobs and housing would.

A popular example of the positive effect of decriminalization is the “Portugal model”.

Portugal decriminalized its drugs in 2001, according to DrugPolicy.org. Ten years later, the number of fatal opioid overdoses fell five-fold.

Within 12 years – two of them before decriminalization – the number of people seeking addiction treatment rose by 60 percent.

In addition, the number of drug users has not increased, although many believe that decriminalization would trigger an increase in drug use.

Proponents of decriminalization also often push for legalization and regulation, which means that the government produces the substances, strictly regulates them, and carries out strict quality control of their ingredients, effectiveness and packaging.

This means that consumers know exactly what they are injecting.

“As long as the drug market remains illegal, people are at risk,” Spafford said.

Regulation would also mean that the government could collect more data on drugs and publish factual information about their adverse effects.

“We call it ‘black market’ for a reason. It is black…. It’s hard to keep track of, hard to monitor, ”said David Hammond, professor of public health at the University of Waterloo.

“I think a concerted effort needs to be made to better understand illicit drugs so that we are careful not to de-normalize and stigmatize consumers as they are often our best source of information about what is out there.”

According to Hammond, the regulation also hosts honest conversations with consumers. Canadians have seen this firsthand with a substance that was once illegal – cannabis.

“We’ve been following this for many years and we see Canadians reporting more information and health literacy immediately before and immediately after legalization … and you know what? When we talk to consumers of different substances, that’s exactly what they want Most of them want more information or are curious about what they are ingesting and what impact it might have. “

Hathaway, Spafford and Wilton all agree that regulating illegal drugs would mean fewer toxic substances and fewer deaths from overdose.

But if many key players in harm reduction want the same thing, what’s the downside?

According to experts: stigma.

“If you think about the reasons why people overestimated the risks of cannabis, it’s because it was illegal,” said Hammond.

“In fact, it’s our legal drugs that in many cases do the most harm, and tobacco use is a good example … so it has to do with our social norms.”

While Hathaway and Spafford say decriminalization and regulation are “a big piece of the puzzle”, ending the drug epidemic is no silver bullet.

Instead, a multi-faceted approach needs to be pursued that enables improved and equal access to mental health services, consumption and treatment centers (CTS), clean equipment such as needles, tubes, spoons, case management for addiction problems, and drop-in programs for peer support.

But none of these things can happen without adequate government funding, which Spafford said did not come about.

“I believe I can say with confidence that funding to address the opioid overdose crisis has nowhere near met the needs of the crisis. We must take immediate action to implement the government’s mental health and addiction strategy . “

Until then, said Spafford, the war on drugs will continue to be a losing battle.




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Socialite who ‘jumped to her death holding her baby had a boyfriend who was not ready to marry’

An American-Chinese celebrity who reportedly jumped to death in Hong Kong with her five-month-old daughter in her arms had a boyfriend who was unwilling to marry her after becoming pregnant, a friend told the Chinese media communicated.

Luo Lili, 34, who rubbed her shoulders with Hillary Clinton and Rita Ora, reportedly fell naked from her 5,000-square-foot penthouse while holding her baby after suffering from postnatal depression.

A friend of Ms. Luo’s death confirmed her death to the press. The source claimed that a pregnant woman Luo had hoped to marry her partner in order to formalize their relationship, but he hadn’t consented at the time.

Ms. Luo seemed to have enjoyed an enchanted life as an American-Chinese celebrity

A friend of Luo Lili, a celebrity who jumped to death with her baby in her arms in Hong Kong, revealed Ms. Luo’s emotional struggle leading up to her death. The friend told reporters that a pregnant Luo was hoping to marry her partner, but he did not agree

Hong Kong police identified the two people who were found dead on a podium in an apartment block last Wednesday by their last name, Luo

However, the local media reported that one of them was Ms. Luo and the other was her five-month-old daughter

Hong Kong police identified the two people who were found dead on a podium in an apartment block last Wednesday by their last name, Luo. However, the local media stated that one of them was Ms. Luo (seen in pictures on her Instagram) and the other was her five-month-old daughter

The only daughter of a real estate tycoon mother who owns several luxury development projects in China, US-educated Ms. Luo appeared to lead a lavish life, study and travel the world from an early age.

In 2014, she founded her own company TriBeluga, an incubation services company that connected global startups with China.

Various Hong Kong news outlets, including HK01, Apple Daily and Ming Pao, reported that Ms. Luo jumped out of her luxurious duplex apartment last Wednesday.

The reports also said she was carrying her five-month-old daughter, who also died in the incident.

Ms. Luo has been featured frequently with influential figures around the world. In a series of undated pictures uploaded to her Instagram account, the Chinese-born, US-trained celebrity and businesswoman was pictured meeting with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Ms. Luo has been featured frequently with influential figures around the world. In a series of undated pictures uploaded to her Instagram account, the Chinese-born, US-trained celebrity and businesswoman was pictured meeting with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

In another picture on Ms. Luo's Instagram, she was pictured with British pop superstar Rita Ora

In another picture on Ms. Luo’s Instagram, she was pictured with British pop superstar Rita Ora

Hong Kong police said they found the bodies of a 34-year-old woman and her five-month-old daughter on a dais of an apartment block in Yau Ma Tei on Jan. 6.

In a statement to MailOnline on Tuesday, police only identified the deceased by her last name, Luo.

‘The woman and little girl were pronounced dead at the scene. Initial examinations showed that they fell off a unit. No evidence was found at the scene, ”said the police, who are still investigating the incident.

“Later autopsies will be carried out to determine the cause of death of the deceased.”

In an online statement, police said officers were deployed on site after receiving a report from a local security officer who discovered the bodies.

Alice Chiu Tsang Hok-Wan, a Hong Kong philanthropist and friend of Ms. Luo, claimed the celebrity's boyfriend did not agree to marry a pregnant Ms. Luo (see an Instagram photo).

Alice Chiu Tsang Hok-Wan, a Hong Kong philanthropist and friend of Ms. Luo, claimed the celebrity’s boyfriend did not agree to marry a pregnant Ms. Luo (see an Instagram photo).

In an interview with Chinese news site The Cover, Alice Chiu Tsang Hok-Wan, a Hong Kong philanthropist and friend of Ms. Luo, revealed the celebrities’ emotional struggle leading up to their deaths.

‘Pregnant after pregnancy, [Ms Luo] hoped to marry her boyfriend and openly and officially honor their relationship. However, her boyfriend was not ready to marry, ”Ms. Chiu told The Cover.

She described Ms. Luo as an “upbeat, positive, and kind” woman who was passionate about charity.

“I will miss her forever,” she added.

Ms. Luo, a single mother, kept the identity of her baby’s father a secret.

She allegedly committed suicide after suffering from postnatal depression, Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao reported.

The article alleged she jumped to her death wearing no clothes from her 5,000-square-foot penthouse while carrying her baby in Ho Man Tin, Kowloon.

Ms. Luo was reportedly the only daughter of Luo Lin, chairman of Jinlin Real Estate

Her father is said to come from a family of doctors who have practiced traditional Chinese medicine for six generations

Ms. Luo, 34, appeared to have lived a lavish life, studying, and traveling the world

Ms. Luo appeared to have lived an extravagant life as a celebrity as she was frequently portrayed with influential figures around the world, including former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and British pop superstar Rita Ora.

In a recent Instagram post, Ms. Luo shared a photo with her daughter Aier as she celebrated her girl’s 100-day birthday.

The mother wrote: “It is God’s way of giving me a perspective on life. Thank you for showing up in my life, my beloved daughter. ‘

Ms. Luo was reportedly the only daughter of Luo Lin, chairman of Jinlin Real Estate in southwest China’s Chengdu metropolis, which owns several luxury development projects across the country.

Her father is said to come from a family of doctors who have practiced traditional Chinese medicine for six generations.

Her parents divorced when she was little, as Ms. Luo previously revealed on her social media.

Ms. Luo was born in Chengdu and moved to Hong Kong at the age of four before studying in Australia and the United States.

She is said to have worked as a translator for her mother before starting her own company in 2014.

In a 2015 interview, Ms. Luo admitted that being born into a wealthy family is not easy because you have to “show up” to be considered successful.

“Other people think it’s easier for us to do things, but it isn’t,” she said.

‘If common people can [be deemed successful by completing] Only 60 percent of a mission, we have to do 80 percent [to be recognised on the same level]. Especially because I’m a woman, I have to really show up and do 95 percent of a task to be considered successful. ‘

She added that through her diligence, she was ready to prove her business skills to others.

For confidential assistance, call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritan office. More information is available at www.samaritans.org




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Vancouver Island teen’s tragic death renews calls for youth mental health resources

The tragic end of the Vancouver Island search for a missing teenager has once again sparked calls for adolescent access to mental health services.

Andre Courtmarche was found dead in Goldstream Provincial Park on Saturday and completed a week-long search for the 16-year-old.

Courtmarche had left his family home in Langford on New Years Day after arguing with his parents over video games.

The teenager, who struggled with depression for two years, died of suicide.

His parents said they experienced delays in helping their son with his mental health. In a gruesome twist of fate, the family received a phone call while searching for their son to say he was finally admitted to a psychiatrist appointment.

On Wednesday, the BC child and youth representative announced to Global News that the province’s already “totally inadequate” mental health system has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s the kind of case we hear about too often and it breaks my heart,” said Jennifer Charlesworth.

Charlelsworth recently co-authored a report on the pandemic’s impact on adolescent mental health.

She says the number of teens facing mental health problems that could affect their daily lives has increased fivefold.

Charlesworth said ahead of the pandemic the provincial mental health services were not up to the task.

“Imagine we had a system that already dealt with major waiting lists and now we have a pandemic and we have the inability to provide one-on-one or personal care for many practitioners, which is exactly what many young people need move to a virtual system, especially if you don’t have technology. That is very problematic. “

Charlesworth said as of May 2020 it existed as early as 2,500 BC. Youngsters on waiting lists for mental health services.

The average waiting time was around two months, but although there is less risk in some cases, the waiting time can be much longer.

Indigenous and racialized youth are disproportionately affected, she said, noting that up to 30 percent of indigenous youth do not have access to the technology to access virtual services.

Along with waiting lists, Charlesworth said some services are inaccessible in smaller or remote communities, and she said the province was suffering from a shortage of professionals in some key areas as well.

She urges the province to allocate more resources to prevent future cases like Courtmarche’s.

“Basically, it is important to recognize that we have a significant problem and without investing now, and to foresee that we will have to continue investing for the foreseeable future, then we will continue to have significant tragedies and quality of life lost for many of our young people,” said she.

A GoFundMe campaign has since been set up to support the von Courtmache family in grief.

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In an emergency, please call 911 for immediate assistance.

The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression, Child Aid at 1-800-668-6868 and Trans Lifeline 1-877-330-6366 are all ways to get help if you or someone you know has it mental health problems.




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Overweight children are more likely to develop mental health issues in adulthood

Overweight children are more likely to develop mental health problems such as depression and psychosis in adulthood, the study warns

  • Cambridge University researchers analyzed data from 10,000 people
  • People with high insulin levels in childhood were at higher risk of psychosis
  • Children with an increase in BMI around the onset of puberty have been found to be at higher risk of developing depression – especially girls

According to a new study, children who are overweight are more likely to develop mental health problems in young adulthood.

Cambridge University researchers have discovered a link between physical changes in childhood and mental illness in adulthood.

Worryingly, their results suggest that children with a high body mass index (BMI) are more likely to suffer from depression and psychosis.

The team hopes the results could help pave the way for better prevention measures and the potential for new treatment goals.

Children who are overweight are more likely to develop mental health problems in young adulthood, new study warned (archive image)

IMPORTANT RESULTS

In the study, the team used a sample of over 10,000 people to examine how insulin levels and BMI in childhood can be related to mental health problems in young adulthood.

The results showed that about 75 percent of participants had normal insulin levels, between 15 and 18 percent had insulin levels that gradually increased through puberty, and three percent had high insulin levels.

What is worrying is that these 3 percent are at higher risk of psychosis in adulthood.

Meanwhile, it has been found that children with an increase in BMI at the beginning of puberty have a higher risk of developing depression – especially among girls.

Surprisingly, children who had a persistently high BMI in childhood did not have a significantly increased risk of depression.

This suggests that other factors may play a role in the age of puberty, according to the team.

Dr. Benjamin Perry of the Cambridge Department of Psychiatry and lead author of the study said, “The common belief in the past has been that some people with psychosis and depression may be more likely to eat poorly and exercise less. Hence, all adverse physical health problems are a consequence of the mental disorder or the treatment for it.

‘Essentially, the wisdom received is that the mental disorder comes first.

“However, we have found that this is not necessarily the case, and in some individuals it may be the other way around, suggesting that physical health problems apparent from childhood may be risk factors for psychosis and depression in adults.”

In the study, the team used a sample of over 10,000 people to examine how insulin levels and BMI in childhood can be related to mental health problems in young adulthood.

The results showed that about 75 percent of participants had normal insulin levels, between 15 and 18 percent had insulin levels that gradually increased through puberty, and three percent had high insulin levels.

What is worrying is that these 3 percent are at higher risk of psychosis in adulthood.

Meanwhile, it has been found that children with an increase in BMI at the beginning of puberty have a higher risk of developing depression – especially among girls.

Surprisingly, children who had a persistently high BMI in childhood did not have a significantly increased risk of depression.

The researchers recommend doctors to conduct physical examinations on young people so that early signs of psychosis or depression can be diagnosed and treated at an early stage (archive image).

The researchers recommend doctors to conduct physical examinations on young people so that early signs of psychosis or depression can be diagnosed and treated at an early stage (archive image).

This suggests that other factors may play a role in the age of puberty, according to the team.

Based on the results, the researchers recommend that doctors perform physical exams on young people so that early signs of psychosis or depression can be diagnosed and treated early.

Dr. Perry added, “These results are an important reminder that all young people with mental health problems should be offered a full and comprehensive assessment of their physical health related to their mental health.

“Early intervention is the best way to reduce the mortality gap that sadly faces people with mental disorders such as depression and psychosis.

“The next step will be to find out exactly why persistently high insulin levels from childhood increase the risk of psychosis in adulthood and why increasing BMI around puberty increases the risk of depression in adulthood.”

“This could pave the way for better prevention interventions and the potential for new treatment goals.”

The depression affects ten people at some points

While it’s normal to feel down from time to time, people with depression can feel unhappy for weeks or months.

Depression can affect anyone at any age and is fairly common – approximately one in ten people will likely experience it at some point in their life.

Depression is a real health condition that people cannot simply ignore or “snap out of” it.

Symptoms and effects vary, but may include constant feelings of agitation or hopelessness, or loss of interest in things that you used to enjoy.

It can also cause physical symptoms such as difficulty sleeping, fatigue, loss of appetite or sex drive, and even physical pain.

In extreme cases, thoughts of suicide can arise.

Traumatic events can trigger this, and people with a family history may be at greater risk.

It is important to see a doctor if you think you or someone you know may be suffering from depression as it can be treated with lifestyle changes, therapy, or medication.

Source: NHS selection

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N.S. social workers call for systemic overhaul of the mental health and addiction services system

A new report from the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers finds that social workers are largely unhappy with the current approach to mental health and addiction in the province and that the system needs to change.

The report interviewed social workers and supervisors, as well as those who have used mental health and addiction services in the province, and found that 98 percent of respondents believed that changes to the current system were needed.

“It’s kind of a wake-up call,” said Katrina Brown, the project’s lead researcher.

According to the report, there is currently too much emphasis on a biomedical model of treating people’s symptoms, which the researchers believe is more of a unified approach.

Those who were part of the project say this ignores the root causes of mental health and addiction as well as the expertise of social workers.

“When we move outside the biomedical model and really look at the social conditions of people’s lives and their experiences, issues of inequality and diversity often play a large role in shaping mental health struggles and concerns. Fighting poverty would be one of the most important ways to achieve this, ”said Brown.

Alec Stratford, the executive director of the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers, says it is also important to realize that individuals are part of a larger community.

“We also need to be clear that we need to take a relational approach – realizing that people are part of families, part of communities and part of society,” said Stratford.

The problem is addressed in the 29 recommendations of the report.

One such recommendation is to offer Nova Scotians a guaranteed income.

The report finds that poverty, especially in marginalized communities, plays a role in mental health and that people living in poverty are at greater risk for depression.

The report also notes that social workers have raised concerns about the lack of community services to help people dealing with mental health and addiction issues. 97 percent of respondents said they do not believe that there are sufficient resources in the community to support their clients’ wellbeing.

“This needs to be based on consultation with communities, so we need to consult with indigenous communities in Nova Scotian as well as African communities in Nova Scotian about what they would like to see as services,” Brown said.

The report recommends that the Department of Health and Wellness devote 10 percent of its total budget to mental health and addictions, an investment of approximately $ 230 million. The current funding is around 6.7 percent of the department’s budget.

The interviews and focus groups for this report were largely conducted prior to the coronavirus pandemic, but researchers say the pandemic only exacerbated the need to address the current mental health and addiction system.

“Anecdotally, there is a lot of talk these days about the increased need for services, that many people are exposed to tremendous stress, anxiety and depression, and that domestic violence has increased,” said Brown.

“At the same time, we have fewer services. We have dramatically fewer services during COVID. “




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