The Rise of Opioid Overdoses Among the Homeless

The Rise of Opioid Overdoses Among the Homeless: A Startling Report from Ontario

In the midst of the ongoing Canadian opioid crisis, a disheartening study has recently emerged in Ontario. This study reveals a significant increase in opioid overdoses among homeless people, highlighting a deeply concerning aspect of the crisis that’s affecting some of the most vulnerable members of our community.

Noteworthy Findings from the Study

This intensive study, conducted from 2014 to 2017, found that the number of homeless deaths due to opioid overdoses significantly increased in Ontario. Here are some key points from the findings that we have to understand:

  • The number of opioid overdose deaths among homeless people rose dramatically from 37 in 2014 to 149 in 2017.
  • The individuals most impacted by this crisis were men, individuals between the ages of 25 and 44, and the residents of urban areas in Ontario.
  • The key opioids involved in these fatal overdoses were fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine.

The Interrelationship between Crime and Opioids among the Homeless

The opioid class action against major pharmaceutical companies reveals that illicit drug use, high amongst homeless populations, leads to an increase in drug-related crime. These offences mainly consist of possession, trafficking, and production. Unfortunately, this cycle of drug use and crime is drawing vulnerable individuals into the criminal justice system.

Efforts to Combat the Opioid Crisis among the Homeless

There are significant efforts underway to combat the tumultuous impact of opioids on the homeless population. One such measure is the provision of naloxone kits – an antidote that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. The Ontario government has recognized the need for a multi-faceted approach including better access to naloxone, increased support for shelters, and more robust mental health services.

The Importance of Understanding the Opioid Crisis

Addressing the opioid crisis demands a comprehensive understanding of its effects on vulnerable communities like the homeless population. Only by understanding the depth and breadth of this crisis can we begin to develop truly effective solutions.

Key Takeaways from the Article

The Canadian opioid crisis is a complex issue that requires multi-level solutions. A few key takeaway points include:

  • The number of opioid-related deaths amongst the homeless population is rising.
  • Men, individuals between 25 and 44 years of age, and urban dwellers are the most affected.
  • Naloxone kits are being distributed as a potential solution to combat opioid overdose deaths.
  • The Ontario government is mobilising resources and support to combat this crisis.


The opioid crisis is a multifaceted issue that continues to devastate communities across Canada. The significant increase in opioid-related deaths among homeless people exposes another grim reality of this ongoing crisis. We must continue our efforts to combat the far-reaching effects of opioids, especially among vulnerable communities. In conclusion, it is through compassion, understanding, and action that we can formulate effective responses to this crisis and look towards a future where the grip of opioids is loosened on our society.

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