The Federal government has reconfirmed the development of a national pharmacare program in an agreement with the federal New Democratic Party (NDP). They will create a list of medications they consider are essential for pharmacare coverage, based on evidence and need. With Canadians dying in record breaking numbers from overdose, almost all from illicit drugs, and an existing evidence base for safe supply in injectable opioids- heroin and hydromorphone there is no excuse for a safe supply of drugs not to be covered.
However recently Don Davies, the national NDP critic for Addictions said he saw no connection between national pharmacare and safe supply. That's almost like not seeing a connection between record breaking rates of overdose deaths and the unpredictable illicit drug supply.
The facts of it are that safe supply means legal and regulated drugs with the non medicinal properties people seek in the illicit market and national coverage for safe supply drugs means less people dying. Universal pharmacare without safe supply is not inclusive pharmacare and considering the amount of Canadians at risk of overdose, especially in his own riding, Don Davies comments are another attempt to avoid the safe supply question and kick the can down the political road. Another thousand deaths in your riding then, Don?
The NDP, whether provincial in the case of BC, or nationally have not shown enough leadership or courage on safe supply.
It's not the public that are opposed to safe supply, polling suggests that establishing “safe supply” programs where alternatives to opioids can be prescribed by health professionals" is supported by 61% of Canadians. But politicians fear a nonexistent public backlash.
National pharmacare is a large opportunity to work on getting access for many thousands at risk of overdose from illicit drugs.
We encourage Canadians that support us and understand to write their members of parliament that coverage includes evidence-based safe supply options in a national pharmacare program.
Safe Supply: A Concept (English and French)
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