Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press “We must move forward with more sites,” declared the minister responsible for Social Services , Lionel Carmant, in the press scrum Tuesday afternoon. “The challenge is to check the quality,” he said.
The Legault government is open to creating supervised inhalation centers for users of crack, cocaine and crystal methin order to counter the increase in overdoses observed in recent months, but the location of such sites is already debated.
“We must move forward with more sites,” declared the minister responsible of Social Services, Lionel Carmant, in the press scrum Tuesday afternoon. “The challenge is to check the quality. It is often the products that are diluted in this that cause respiratory arrest and death. »
Survey | Cocaine, crack and crystal meth, deadlier than opioids in Quebec
In the morning, Le Devoir revealed that stimulating substances such as crack, cocaine and crystal meth had killed seven times more people than opioids in Quebec between January 2022 and April 2023.
Supervised inhalation centers are considered by stakeholders as a good way to prevent deaths, but there are only three in Quebec — in Quebec, Gatineau and Laval. On Wednesday, Minister Carmant was not able to say how many new initiatives in this direction could be funded.
Not in my… schoolyard
When a controversy broke out in September concerning the opening of a center in the Saint-Henri district, the minister declared that there would be no inhalation site near a school without acceptability social.
However, on Tuesday, in the National Assembly, the liberal opposition criticized him for being too sympathetic to the project. One after the other, liberal MPs Marwah Rizqy and Elisabeth Prass spoke out for parents opposed to the presence of the Maison Benoît Labre supervised consumption center not far from Victor-Rousselot primary school.
Mr. Carmant criticized them for being “not in my backyard,” and insisted on the fact that the center in question aimed above all to help people.
The INSPQ ready to act on more a front
For the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec (INSPQ), nothing prevents the authorities from tackling all types of overdoses. “The fact that we deal with opioids does not prevent us from thinking about other psychoactive substances,” declared its president, Pierre-Gerlier Forest, in a parliamentary committee.
The INSPQ presented Tuesday a brief as part of the commission responsible for studying Bill 36 on Quebec's participation in legal proceedings against opioid manufacturers.
In front of elected officials, Mr. Forest urged the government to move forward. While recognizing that the mortality rate due to opioids in Quebec is lower than the Canadian average, he argued that the number of deaths they cause has tripled in 20 years. The INSPQ also believes that the damage caused by these drugs is probably underestimated, and that monitoring and research will need to be intensified to measure the full extent of the phenomenon.
“It is still difficult to differentiate between deaths caused by opioids and those [occurring] in situations where people have used multiple substances. It creates confusion around the data, Mr. Forest also said. Opioids are perhaps a first step in the transformation of the illicit drug market, in which we will see more and more drugs. France is grappling with a problem with the use of a drug that was once prescribed for epilepsy. »
With Alexandre Robillard