Provincial Work on Critical Opioid Issues

Thunder Bay Counselling is Leading Provincial Work on Critical Opioids Issues

Local agency is leading the Ontario Opioids Case Managers Network
and hosting provincial conference in Toronto this week.


Thursday November 20, 2019, Thunder Bay, Ontario: – Earlier this year, Public Health Ontario reported that Thunder Bay and its surrounding area has the highest per-capita accidental opioid overdose death rate in the province, at 22.7 per 100,000 people. With data showing a steady increase in opioid use and opioid related harms, the Ontario Opioid Case Managers Network plays a critical role in connecting, training and supporting Opioid Case Managers across the Province.

Thunder Bay Counselling is the lead agency for the Ontario Opioid Case Managers Network, which represents 27 agencies who are serving patients in Ontario. Acting as a liaison and professional development lead, Thunder Bay Counselling is working directly with network partners and dozens of Opioid Case Managers to facilitate provincial discussions and explore sector-led solutions on the opioid crisis.

This week, Thunder Bay Counselling is also hosting a Provincial Opioid Case Managers Network Conference in Toronto. The conference runs November 20th – Friday 22nd and will address current challenges and updates including: Opiate Use Disorder in Primary Care, Provincial Opioid Results & Roundtable Discussions, and Human Trafficking.

Kris Carlson, a specialized Youth-In-Transition Worker with Thunder Bay Counselling, is hosting a full day of peer learning on Human Trafficking, and providing vital information on topics such as the stages of exploitation, understanding trafficking, warning signs and vulnerability factors, psychology of traffickers, engagement strategies for client and potential clients, and self-reflection about how Opioid Case Managers practice. In her role in Thunder Bay, Kris helps to prevent the trafficking of youth leaving care who may be targeted by human traffickers.

Says Nancy Chamberlain, Executive Director of Thunder Bay Counselling: “Thunder Bay Counselling is committed to improving services to individuals struggling with opioid use and addiction, which is of particular importance to Thunder Bay and northern Ontario communities. Considering the level of opioid use in our region, it is important that Thunder Bay Counselling is the provincial lead for the Ontario Opioid Case Managers Network. We are invested in working together for solutions to the epidemic facing our communities.”

According to recent studies, one in eight people in Ontario received an opioid for chronic non-cancer related pain in 2016. There has also been a steady increase reported in opioid-related harms in Ontario for more than a decade; more than 1,450 Ontarians died from opioid-related causes in 2018.