Naloxone: What to know about the opioid overdose-reversing drug, free across Canada – CTV News [2023-12-03]

Health Canada has called the opioid crisis one of the most serious public health threats in recent history, and an addictions specialist says everyone can play a part in helping reduce the death toll. All it takes is access to naloxone, a life-saving medication that temporarily reverses an opioid overdose.

“It’s something that all adult Canadians, and I would hazard to guess teenagers as well, should have access to and be aware of,” said Dr. Sam Hickcox, chief officer of the Nova Scotia government’s Office of Mental Health and Addictions. “If there’s something we could do to save a life, why wouldn’t we?”

He compared administering naloxone to using an EpiPen to treat someone having an anaphylactic allergic reaction.

Hickcox said the country’s ongoing opioid epidemic has been made worse as Canada’s illicit drug supply became “poisoned” in recent years with toxic, highly potent opioid additives like fentanyl and carfentanil. Some users report not knowing what’s in the drugs they’re using.

“It’s been wreaking havoc across the country … starting in the West Coast and heading eastward,” he said in a recent interview.

Read more here:

CTV News
December 3, 2023

Police fear ‘they’ll be seen as weak’ bringing up mental health struggles: Ontario union – Global News [2023-12-01]

A police union in a major Ontario city made a push this fall for better mental health supports for its front-line officers.

Hamilton Police Association (HPA) president Jaimi Bannon faced the city’s police board in October and called for an end to a stigma around “mental health illness” and requested the creation of a “fulsome wellness unit” staffed with members with lived policing experiences.

“Members fear they will be seen as weak if the employer knows their struggle,” Bannon told Hamilton’s police services board.

“They fear for their career development positions and employment opportunities as well as promotions. They fear for being ostracized, gossiped and isolated.”

Bannon pointed to a highly touted reintegration program in Alberta, designed to assist first responders recovering from critical incidents, as an option.

Almost a decade old, the Edmonton Police Re-integration program has been recognized by the Canadian Association of the Chiefs of Police (CACP) as an “innovative and comprehensive” solution that fosters self-confidence in officers who are struggling.

It’s the type of support the HPA wants for its 1,200 workers with the Hamilton Police Service (HPS), replacing a current resolution process it says has “shortcomings.”

Read more here:

Global News
December 1, 2023

988 hotline for those facing mental health crisis launches across Canada – CBC News [2023-11-30]

Canada’s 988 hotline, which gives people access to suicide prevention services via call or text, went live on Thursday.

People in every province and territory who are experiencing a mental health crisis and need immediate, real-time support can use the three-digit number.

Similar to 911 for accessing fire, police and medical emergencies, 988: Suicide Crisis Helpline is a short, easy-to-remember number to get a quick response from coast to coast to coast, 24/7 and free of charge.

Dr. Allison Crawford, chief medical officer for the line, is co-ordinating the service. She is also a psychiatrist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), the country’s largest teaching hospital for mental health based in Toronto.

Crawford said the goal of 988 is to prevent suicide.

“Suicide is a tragic outcome of many factors that differ from person to person,” she said. “We know that feeling a sense of burden or a lack of belonging are common feelings that increase risk. Other factors that can play a role in suicide are mental illness, including depression, anxiety, psychosis and substance use.”

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CBC News
November 30, 2023

Musk uses expletive to tell audience he doesn’t care about advertisers that fled X over hate speech – CTV News [2023-11-29]

Billionaire Elon Musk said Wednesday that advertisers who have halted spending on his social media platform X in response to antisemitic and other hateful material are engaging in “blackmail” and, using a profanity, essentially told them to go away.

“Don’t advertise,” Musk said.

He appeared to specifically call out Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger, saying, “Hey Bob, if you’re in the audience … that’s how I feel.”

In an on-stage interview at The New York Times DealBook Summit, Musk also apologized for endorsing an antisemitic conspiracy theory in response to a post on X that helped fuel an advertiser exodus.

Read more here:

CTV News
November 29, 2023

Growing number of homeless people turning to ERs for shelter and warmth in Ontario, study says – CBC News [2023-11-28]

When Dr. Carolyn Snider arrives for her early morning emergency room shifts, she regularly sees between five and 10 people in the waiting area who don’t need medical attention— just a safe place to stay warm.

“[They’re] truly there to just stay out of the elements,” said Snider, chief of the emergency department at St. Michael’s Hospital in downtown Toronto.

“This has already been occurring this fall. I can’t even imagine what will be occurring over the upcoming [winter] months,” she said.

There’s been a significant increase in the number of homeless people taking refuge in downtown Toronto emergency departments over the last few winters, Snider said. She and colleagues did some research to see if they could quantify what they were seeing.

The resulting study, published on a pre-print website Tuesday, examined data that had been collected from hospitals across Ontario, documenting ER visits from the winter of 2018-19 through to last winter, ending March 31, 2023.

It found that non-urgent emergency department visits among people who are homeless increased by 24 per cent across the province over those five winters.

Read more here:

CBC News
November 28, 2023

Developmentally Disabled People Are Being Pushed into Homelessness – The Tyee [2023-11-28]

Just before the summer started, Jon Harry was told he’d have to leave his room at a Duncan motel because the owner planned to renovate.

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Harry, on provincial disability benefits, had already been struggling to pay for his small motel room, which didn’t include a kitchen: rent was $1,100 a month, leaving just $200 to pay for food and other living expenses.

But Harry was unable to find a new place to rent, and for the last five months, he’s been sleeping rough.

“I was in a tarp and blanket, and then I was in a tent for a little bit,” the 34-year-old Duncan resident told The Tyee. “And now I’m trying to go to a shelter.”

Harry is one of a new wave of developmentally disabled people who are ending up homeless in B.C.

Organizations that support developmentally disabled clients say it’s a recent phenomenon, and a new low for a province that has struggled with rising homelessness, spiking rents and rampant real estate speculation for years.

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The Tyee
November 28, 2023

Doctor points to gaps in London area child and youth mental health care – CBC News [2023-11-27]

A doctor in Alymer, Ont., is speaking out after facing barriers to get outpatient mental health care for a 12-year-old patient identified as being at high risk for self-harm.

Dr. Michael Fernando is a general practitioner who took over as the family doctor for the girl last summer. Her mother has given Fernando permission to speak to CBC News about her health issues. CBC has agreed not to publish the girl’s name because she is a minor.

Fernando said that in assessing the patient, it was clear she needed extensive mental health supports, including outpatient care from a child psychologist.

“The mental health concerns were very severe,” said Fernando.

Over the past year, the girl’s parents had twice taken her to the emergency room for treatment for hallucinations and a desire for self-harm. She was provided a safety plan by doctors, but did not have a referral for outpatient care from a child psychologist.

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CBC News
November 27, 2023

After 151 years, Popular Science will no longer offer a magazine – The Verge [2023-11-27]

After 151 years, Popular Science will no longer be available to purchase as a magazine. In a statement to The Verge, Cathy Hebert, the communications director for PopSci owner Recurrent Ventures, says the outlet needs to “evolve” beyond its magazine product, which published its first all-digital issue in 2021.

PopSci, which covers a whole range of stories related to the fields of science, technology, and nature, published its first issue in 1872. Things have changed a lot over the years, with the magazine switching to a quarterly publication schedule in 2018 and doing away with the physical copies altogether after 2020.

In a post on LinkedIn, former PopSci editor Purbita Saha commented on the magazine’s discontinuation, stating she’s “frustrated, incensed, and appalled that the owners shut down a pioneering publication that’s adapted to 151 years worth of changes in the space of a five-minute Zoom call.” Layoffs have impacted journalists on the science beat particularly hard in recent weeks. National Geographic cut the remainder of the magazine’s editorial staff in June, followed by Gizmodo laying off its last climate reporter, and CNBC shuttering its climate desk last week.

Read more here:

The Verge
November 27, 2023

Why several big-box stores have ditched their self-checkouts – CBC News [2023-11-22]

After Dwayne Ouelette took over the Canadian Tire in North Bay, Ont., last year, he decided to buck the trend and ditch the store’s four self-checkout machines — which had been there for a decade.

“I’m not comfortable using them and I don’t think some of my customers are comfortable [either],” said Ouelette, who removed the machines in July and replaced them with cashiers.

“I’d rather my customers see my cashiers and if there’s any questions or concerns, at least there’s somebody they can talk to.”

When self-checkouts began their rise to prominence about a decade ago, they were seen as a way for retailers to cut labour costs and speed up the checkout process.

Soon, the machines outnumbered cashiers in many stores. But now, some big-box stores that previously embraced self-checkout have backtracked, and re-embraced an all-cashier, full-service format.

Along with North Bay, a Canadian Tire in Mississauga, Ont., recently ditched its machines.

Read more here:

CBC News
November 22, 2023

Loneliness is as bad for you as smoking, research shows. But the stigma stops people getting help – CBC News [2023-11-21]

Top health officials say loneliness is as bad for your health as smoking, but one doctor warns that the stigma around feeling lonely still stops people from reaching out for support.

“Just like thirst is a signal you need hydration, loneliness is a signal you need … human connection,” said Dr. Jeremy Nobel, a lecturer at Harvard Medical School and author of Project Unlonely: Healing our Crisis of Disconnection.

“Why is it we’re guilty and ashamed about being lonely, where we don’t feel that way about being thirsty?” he asked The Current’s Matt Galloway.

Last week the World Health Organization designated loneliness as a “global public health concern,” appointing U.S. surgeon general Dr. Vivek Murthy to lead an international commission to tackle the problem. Research has shown that loneliness is as bad for people’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

In a talk he gave at Yale last year, Murthy said he wants to raise the alarm about the shame people associate with loneliness.

“To say you’re lonely almost feels like saying you’re not likeable. Or even worse, that you’re not lovable. And I know this because that’s how I felt as a child when I struggled with loneliness over the years,” he said during the talk on Sept. 8, 2022.

Read more here:

CBC News
November 21, 2023

Autism Ontario troubled by Veltman defence team’s use of autism in criminal case – CTV News [2023-11-20]

Autism Ontario is deeply troubled by the fact that the defense for Nathaniel Veltman tried to cite autism as a mitigating factor in the June 6, 2021 attack on the Afzaal family(opens in a new tab).

The advocating body for people on the spectrum do not want autism used as a legal defense in any criminal trials.

“This sort of legal tactic, it risks stereotyping and stigmatizing an entire population of people with autism,” said Autism Ontario Communications Specialist, Michael Cnudde.

During the 11 week-long murder week trial, Veltman’s defense called up a forensic psychiatrist who diagnosed Veltman with autism spectrum disorder this past year.

Ultimately, it did not play a factor and Veltman was found guilty of all charges in the attack on a London, Ont. Muslim family more than two years ago.

Michael Cnudde said sadly this isn’t the first time this tactic has been used.

Read more here:

CTV News
November 20, 2023

As Earth’s temperature rises, so do deaths among people with mental health problems – CTV News [2023-11-18]

As the climate crisis gets worse, we know of farmers whose crops are drying up and people who lose their homes due to rampant wildfires.

But there’s another group for whom the climate crisis is a potentially lethal threat — people with mental health problems such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or anxiety.

And this threat has already become reality for some people. During a record-breaking heat wave in British Columbia in June 2021, 8 per cent of people who died from the extreme heat had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, according to a March study(opens in a new tab). That made the disorder a more dangerous risk factor than all other conditions the authors studied, including kidney disease and coronary artery disease.

“Until climate change gets under control, things are only going to get worse unfortunately,” said Dr. Robert Feder, a retired New Hampshire-based psychiatrist and the American Psychiatric Association’s representative to the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health. “As the temperature keeps increasing, these effects are going to be magnified. There’s going to be more storms, more fires, and people are going to be more worried about what could happen because a lot more things are happening.”

Rising temperatures have also been associated with suicide attempts and increased rates of mental health-related emergency department visits, several studies have found. And long-term exposure to air pollution — which the climate crisis can worsen by adding more particles from droughts or wildfires — has been linked with elevated anxiety and an increase in suicides.

Read more here:

CTV News
November 18, 2023

IBM, EU, Disney and others pull ads from Elon Musk’s X as concerns about antisemitism fuel backlash – CTV News [2023-11-18]

Advertisers are fleeing social media platform X over concerns about their ads showing up next to pro-Nazi content and hate speech on the site in general, with billionaire owner Elon Musk inflaming tensions with his own posts endorsing an antisemitic conspiracy theory.

IBM, NBCUniversal and its parent company Comcast said this week that they stopped advertising on X after a report said their ads were appearing alongside material praising Nazis — a fresh setback as the platform formerly known as Twitter tries to win back big brands and their ad dollars, X’s main source of revenue.

The liberal advocacy group Media Matters said in a report Thursday that ads from Apple and Oracle also were placed next to antisemitic material on X. On Friday it said it also found ads from Amazon, NBA Mexico, NBCUniversal and others next to white nationalist hashtags.

“IBM has zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination and we have immediately suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this entirely unacceptable situation,” the company said in a statement.

Read more here:

CTV News
November 18, 2023

Crisis worker with London Children’s Aid urges province to step in as agency places kids in hotels – CBC News [2023-11-15]

A crisis intervention specialist with the London, Ont. branch of the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) says there are currently no beds available for some of the city’s most vulnerable youth.

Pre-existing gaps in services have only grown wider in the city and across the province, according to Gerry Healy. There are no spaces to place high needs children who require special treatment and aren’t able to return home for a variety of reasons.

The agency, tasked with keeping children safe, has had to resort to placing some of those children in homes as far away as Ottawa, or in local hotels or motels.

“When you’re putting a teenager or a child as young as 11 in hotel rooms and calling that home, I’d say [the situation] is significantly dire,” said Healy.

Read more here:

CBC News
November 15, 2023

Patients treated for mental illness face more barriers for medication approval and access, study finds – CTV News [2023-11-14]

A new study has found that patients being treated for mental illness in Canada wait “far too long” for medication approval and face “inequitable access” across the country.

The study from the Mood Disorders Society of Canada, titled “System Broken,”(opens in a new tab) finds Canadians who depend on public drug plans are especially disadvantaged.

“As we face a widespread and growing mental health crisis, the need to change our broken system is clear,” the report says. “The insights detailed in this report indicate that there are inherent gaps in Canadians’ access to medications for mental illnesses – gaps that illuminate inequity, including time delays, and highlight how mental illness continues to be stigmatized in our society.”

Once Health Canada determines if medications are safe and effective, private insurance plans help cover the cost of these prescriptions.

This study found 42 per cent of those surveyed rely on a public drug plan, a three per cent increase since 2015.

Read more here:

CTV News
November 14, 2023

Libraries and Homelessness: Libraries provide more than just books – Psychology Today [2023-11-11]

Yesterday, at a community homelessness resource and health fair where I was a faculty preceptor for a footcare clinic with some of our medical and nursing students, I was reminded of the powerful role of libraries in the lives of people experiencing homelessness. Among the tables and tents offering warm winter coats, gloves, hats, behavioral health resources, pizza, bagels, coffee, haircuts, youth shelter, and women’s day shelter services, and our footcare, the University Branch of the Seattle Public Library table was quite popular. Amidst the absurdity of a return to backward-looking book bans throughout our country and in a season of thanksgiving, let us remember that public libraries literally save lives.

It is not hyperbole to say that public libraries save lives, especially for people experiencing homelessness. Libraries give sanctuary and shelter, both emotionally and physically. Libraries yield quiet, peacefulness, community, heat, and, hopefully, air conditioning when it’s hot and smokey outside. Libraries have public restrooms, which are surprisingly scarce in Seattle, as in most U.S. cities. Harried parents can find respite in libraries with their bright, colorful children’s book sections, free access to the internet and computers, and children’s story hours. Children, teens, adults, and older adults, no matter their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, differing abilities, socio-economic and housing situations, can all find stories of people like them who deal with challenges they face and who find ways to not only survive, but endure, resist, and thrive.

Read more here:

Psychology Today
November 11, 2023

SafeSpace London’s landlord has message for property owners considering homeless shelters as tenants – CTV News [2023-11-01]

“Do it. This will help us find a longterm solution [to homelessness],” urged Rashad Ayyash when asked what he would tell other property owners considering homeless shelters or frontline agencies as tenants.

Ayyash and his business partners are proud to be landlords for SafeSpace London, a shelter for women experiencing homelessness.

Beginning as a four-month temporary agreement to provide services inside the former bank building at the southwest corner of Dundas Street and Lyle Street, Ayyash is now finalizing an extended tenancy with the agency.

“This area is in dire need of services and I was happy to step up and offer my property,” he explained.

But at Tuesday’s meeting of the Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee, Coun. Susan Stevenson grilled city staff about a proposal to offer services at SafeSpace as part of London’s upcoming Winter Response to Homelessness.

Read more here:

CTV News
November 1, 2023

People with permanent tattoos are more likely to be arrested, convicted, and incarcerated, study finds – PsyPost [2023-11-06]

A new study indicate that both men and women with permanent tattoos are at a significantly higher risk of arrest, conviction, and incarceration compared to those without tattoos, potentially due to stigmatization. This correlation persists even after adjusting for self-reported criminal behavior, levels of self-control, associations with delinquent peers, and key demographic variables. The study was published in Deviant Behavior.

Stigmatization is the process of labeling, stereotyping, and discriminating against individuals or groups based on certain characteristics, attributes, or conditions that are considered socially undesirable or different. Stigmatized attributes can be race, gender, sexual orientation, mental health, disabilities, and more. Stigmatization can result in social exclusion, bias, and inequitable treatment, often causing detrimental effects on the well-being and life chances of the stigmatized.

Studies have shown that stigma also impact reactions of the criminal justice system. Consequently, individuals with stigmatized characteristics are more likely to be processed through the criminal justice system, regardless of their actual innocence or guilt. Such individuals are also more likely to be found guilty and to have punishments imposed on them.

Read more here:

November 6, 2023

Ontario inmates saw higher risk of overdose death as COVID-19 emerged: study – CTV News [2023-10-28]

Former Ontario inmates saw their risk of dying from a toxic-drug overdose jump as much as 50 per cent at the start of the pandemic compared to the years before COVID-19, says a study.

The study in the medical journal PLOS One compared pandemic impacts on opioid toxicity death rates between people who had and had not been incarcerated in Ontario between 2015 and 2020.

It found overall risk jumped substantially when COVID-19 emerged with a slew of infection control measures, but the increase in risk was particularly large for people who had been behind bars or released during the years studied.

Lead author Amanda Butler, assistant professor of criminology at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, says COVID-19 further exacerbated risk by 1.5 times for men and 1.2 times for women who were incarcerated.

Read more here:

CTV News
October 28, 2023

Why AI Lies – For chatbots, the truth is elusive; it is for humans, too – Psychology Today [2023-10-27]

Attorney Steven Schwartz heard about large language models (LLMs) from his children. He read a few articles on the subject, one saying that the new artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots could make legal research obsolete.

Schwartz asked OpenAI’s ChatGPT to help him with the research for a lawsuit; he was representing an airline passenger who suffered injuries after being struck by a serving cart on a 2019 flight.

ChatGPT instantly summarized comparable cases, such as Martinez v. Delta Air Lines and Varghese v. China Southern Airlines. Schwartz put them in his filing. Unfortunately for Schwartz, many cases—and even some airlines—didn’t exist

The defendant’s lawyers complained that they could not locate the cases cited. At first, Schwartz and another attorney at his firm gave “shifting and contradictory explanations.” Then Schwartz told the judge what had happened.

Read more here:

Psychology Today
October 27, 2023

Why some Ontario children and youth with complex special needs are living in hotels – CBC News [2023-10-25]

Ontario parents and caregivers are “exhausted” trying to find the right support for children with acute and intense needs within the social work and health-care systems, says the executive director of the Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society (WECAS).

Derrick Drouillard told CBC’s Windsor Morning that getting proper support for young people with complex special needs is a “crisis across the whole province.”

“They’ve been attempting to find the services as support within the system to maintain their children in their own homes or within their community,” Drouillard said.

“They have come up against a lack of acute and intense resources to support them, supporting their children. And so oftentimes those children, youth, end up on the doorstep of a Children’s Aid Society.”

Drouillard said that while the number isn’t static, he estimates at any given time, their agency has seven to 10 children or youth who should not be in their system, but should be within the mental health system or in placements that support “high needs.”

Some of those children are being placed in hotels or living in the children’s services buildings themselves.

According to Drouillard, children living at a hotel are supported by Children’s Aid Society staff who do “their very best under the circumstances.”

“There are some youth that can and do get themselves out, go off to school, work, do other things. But they have other issues … they have other challenges. But for the most part, there’s always touch points.

Read more here:

CBC News
October 25, 2023

One-of-a-kind Pride Library at Western welcomes students and the public back – CBC News [2023-10-25]

The main library at Western University isn’t known for its purple sofas and funky art work. But they’re there, at the back on the main floor, inside a unique library space that’s reopened after a four-year hiatus.

The Pride Library, which houses thousands of books on queer literature, is Canada’s only library dedicated to queer theory and literature. It closed in 2019 for renovations and stayed shuttered during the pandemic.

“This is a space of history and recollection, but also of forward-looking, global thinking, around queer issues,” said James Miller, founder of The Pride Library and professor emeritus of languages and cultures.

The Pride Library began in 1990 when Miller was teaching a gay and lesbian course at Western University and noticed that the school’s collection on queer literature was sparse.

Read more here:

CBC News
October 25, 2023

Red-flags raised around medically-assisted death in Canada’s prisons – Global News [2023-10-13]

Since it first became legal in Canada in June 2016, 10 federal prisoners have been granted a medically-assisted death (MAID), according to the Correctional Service of Canada.

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) also says that as of Aug. 31 this year, a total of 32 prisoners have requested MAID. The numbers rose slightly from May 31, 2023, when the number of requests totalled 29. At that time, nine people were deemed eligible, and granted a medically-assisted death.

The CSC declined to provide a further breakdown of the numbers, citing privacy reasons.

But the procedures and practices of accessing MAID in Canada’s prisons is a cause for concern among advocates and experts alike.

Kim Beaudin is the National Vice-Chief of the Aboriginal Peoples Congress and has been advocating on behalf of Indigenous peoples in the justice system for two decades. He has concerns about the justice system as a whole and the disproportion representation and impact on Indigenous peoples.

Read more here:

Global News
October 13, 2023

Pride tape ban: Brian Burke ‘deeply disappointed’ in the NHL – Global News [2023-10-11]

Brian Burke is not mincing words when it comes to expressing his disappointment with the NHL’s decision to ban players from using rainbow-coloured stick tape in support of the LGBTQ2 community.

The former NHL executive took to social media Wednesday, saying that the league-wide ban on the Pride symbol removes meaningful support for the queer community and only serves to protect a small group of players who don’t want to be questioned about their lack of support.

In his written statement, Burke called the Pride Tape ban a “surprising and serious setback.”

“This is not inclusion or progress,” Burke, now president of the PWHL players’ association, wrote. “Fans look to teams and the league to show they are welcome, and this directive closes a door that’s been open for the last decade.”

He also addressed the LGBTQ2 community, writing: “Please know that you are still a valued member of the hockey community. We will not lose the incredible progress we’ve made in inclusion over the last decade.”

Read more here:

Global News
October 11, 2023