Access to overdose prevention for people at the time of release from provincial prisons in Ontario

Access to overdose prevention for people at the time of release from provincial prisons in Ontario

Dr. Fiona Kouyoumdjian, a CIHR Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Urban Health Solutions, collaborated with Dr. Lori Kiefer, senior medical consultant to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, Dr. Stephen Hwang and others to publish a paper exploring mortality rates for people released from provincial prisons. The study demonstrated that the chance of dying by overdose spikes dramatically during the two weeks after release, and helped to inspire a push for the distribution of naloxone (overdose prevention medication) to people upon release. On July 4th, Dr. Eric Hoskins, Ontario’s Minister of Health and Long-term Care, announced that the Ministry will provide naloxone to people released from provincial prisons -  a positive step that can help to reduce the risk of mortality from overdose.

A new paper from Centre scientist Dr. Nav Persaud along with Dr. Emily Groot, Dr. Kouyoumdjian, Dr. Kiefer and others has also helped to demonstrate the risk of overdose for people newly released from prison, and was the basis for a recent editorial in the Toronto Star calling for a focus on overdose prevention supports.