Loading articles...

Toronto's St. Mike's Hospital participating in trial in attempt to halt overdose deaths

An addict prepares heroin, placing a fentanyl test strip into the mixing container to check for contamination, Wednesday Aug. 22, 2018, in New York. If the strip registers a "pinkish" to red marker then the heroin is positive for contaminants. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

“If you have to drink water every day and you don’t know whether the glass you’re about to drink is going to kill you or not, you will be pretty aware of the need to test that substance.”

Drugs sold on the streets today are often cut with fentanyl, and are killing users right now. Awareness campaigns haven’t worked, political options take years of debate and legislating to arrive on the front lines, and meanwhile…people keep dying. We’ve already seen the impact that having users inject in a safe space can have on overdoses, so what if we offered to test the drugs for them before they injected.

A new program that’s part of a massive focus on urban health through Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital is going to make that offer and see where it leads, as part of a seven-city trial that is taking a new approach to halting overdose deaths. Will it work? And, in this case, what would success look like?

THE BIG STORY PODCAST GUEST: Dr. Dan Werb, addictions epidemiologist, St. Michael’s Hospital, MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions

MAP Centre for Urban Health Solution’s unconventional exhibit, Redirecting the Future: The Intersection of Health and Poverty, is open to the public now until Friday, Feb. 15 at the Allen Lambert Galleria at Brookfield Place. It marks the launch of a $25-million fundraising campaign led by St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation to support MAP’s mission and an awareness campaign to share its researchers’ work with the public.

Today’s Podcast – Inside an attempt to disrupt the opioid crisis


You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on iTunes or Google Play.

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.