Between January 2016 and June 2021, 24 626 people died from opioid toxicity in Canada. A key driver of this ongoing public health crisis has been the infiltration of illicitly manufactured fentanyl and other dangerous adulterants into the unregulated drug supply. Although a range of educational, harm reduction and substance use disorder (SUD) treatment interventions have been implemented and expanded in response, these efforts have not been sufficient, and the number of deaths from drug poisoning continues to rise. This article discusses the Safer Alternatives for Emergency Response (SAFER) program, the evidence that has been collected so far, and next steps for expanding the program.
Citation: CMAJ 2022 May 16;194:E674-6. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.211515