The Ontario government announced Wednesday it will spend $32.7 million to support those with addictions, with some $6.9 million of that going to help those who are using opioids.
The new spending will go toward community-based services that support what the government calls lifelong stabilization and recovery and bed-based investments for adults and youth who need intensive support.
The move comes as Ontario continues to see a steady increase of people overdosing on drugs during the COVID-19 pandemic. A new study from the University of Waterloo shows that between 2000 and 2017, the number of opioid-related deaths has increased by 592 per cent.
Deaths related to opioid addiction in Ontario have also tripled since 2011.
The Canadian Mental Health Association in Ontario told The Canadian Press it welcomes the funding, but notes it doesn't go far enough.
The government's funding is annualized and laid out in its Roadmap to Wellness, a plan focused on managing Ontario's mental health system and services.
In today's announcement, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that funding will support three goals: "preventing substance-related harms by connecting people with harm reduction supports, investing in early stabilization to encourage treatment and lay a strong foundation for transitions between service providers, and improving access to evidence-based treatments."
Ontario's Roadmap to Wellness indicates that investments will ensure Ontarians receive the help they need. They're also expanding assistance to children and youth.
The Roadmap has pledged an increase of $525 million in annualized funding since 2019.