Ontario is in the midst of a drug crisis. These 7 charts tell us who’s being hit hardest

As Canada grapples with a drug toxicity crisis, new research looking at four years of opioid overdose deaths in Ontario offers a revealing glimpse of the face of these victims. 


The research highlights, among other things, the disproportionate impact that opioid overdoses are having on Black, Asian and Latin American drug users and raises questions about whether the province’s racialized communities are getting the help they need.


Published this month in the journal BMJ Public Health by researchers at MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions at St. Michael’s Hospital, the study lays out in stark detail who is dying of opioid toxicity as well as disparities in accessing crucial treatment and harm reduction services.


Since the Public Health Agency of Canada began monitoring the opioid overdose crisis eight years ago, the country has witnessed a tragedy of mammoth proportions that has killed more than 40,000 people, upended the lives of countless families and changed the face of many of Canada’s most vulnerable neighbourhoods. As of 2023, the crisis was killing an average of 22 people every day, the agency estimated.


To conduct their Ontario study, researchers from the MAP Centre examined more than 6,600 deaths from accidental opioid toxicity in the province between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2021.


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Infectious Disease Physician

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