OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #500 October 19, 2016

Highlights include: Background to Federal and Provincial Health Discussions; Ontario Opioid Strategy; Review of Segregation Practices; OHRC Alcohol and Drug Testing Policy; MHCC Makes the Case


Editor’s Note:  Please be aware that many online newspaper sites are now behind pay-walls.  Not all articles with hyperlinks may be accessible due to circumstances beyond our control; we apologize for the inconvenience. To minimize the impact of pay-walls, consider regularly clearing your browser cookies.


1.  Ontario Newsroom

a)  The province has introduced a new comprehensive opioids strategy with a press release:

Ontario Taking Action to Prevent Opioid Abuse

At grassroots level, concerns exist about this strategy:

Ontario's Opioid Plan Could Lead to More Overdoses, Deaths

New Provincial Opioids Strategy "A Start", but not Enough

Health Officials Want Barriers Removed to Opioid Treatment on Northern Reserves

Ontario's Opioids Strategy Criticized for Fentanyl Omission

b)  Ontario has launched a deeper review of segregation practices in adult correctional facilities.  The press release is here:

Ontario to Begin Overhaul of the Use of Segregation in the Province

Stakeholders express viewpoints here:

Solitary Confinement Use to be Curbed in Ontario Jails

Ontario's Plan to Reform Solitary Confinement Policies Falls Short

Correctional Officers Express Concerns

This announcement was designed to get ahead of the Ontario Human Rights Commission that was releasing its own report on solitary confinement the following day (see the press release and article):

Data Confirms Alarming Systemic Overuse of Segregation in Ontario's Correctional Facilities

New Report Confirms "Alarming" Use of Solitary Confinement in Ontario Jails -- 939 Days of Continuous Segregation for One Inmate

2.  Ontario Inmates First to Get Antidote for Opioid Overdoses

People who have used but temporarily stopped (for example, during incarceration) are at high risk for overdosing when returning into the community and so are being issued naloxone nasal spray:

Ontario Inmates First to Get Naloxone Opioid Overdose Spray

Yet some jurisdictions such as Ottawa report that the street fentanyl available may make overdose kits ineffective:

Fentanyl Sold on Ottawa Streets too Potent for Overdose Kits

In related news, a women-only safe injection site in Vancouver will ease personal safety fears:

Women-Only Supervised Injection Site to Open in Vancouver

3.  Meeting of Health Ministers Preceded by Calls to Action on Mental Health

Plentiful press coverage happened before the event:

How the Liberals Hope to Transform Canadian Health Care

Provinces Urge Ottawa to Reverse Health Funding Cuts

Provincial, Territorial Health Ministers Call for Larger Increase to Federal Health Transfers

Philpott Talks Tough on Health Transfer

The Globe and Mail's Andre Picard has this to say about the meeting's priorities:

Health Ministers' Meeting is a Preliminary Bout

So does the National Post:

The Premiers Need to Take Charge on Health Care, not Just Beg for More Money

Michael Wilson, Chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada makes the case for more mental health funding.  So does CAMH CEO Catherine Zahn and the Ontario Mental Health and Addictions Leadership Advisory Council in their own words.

4.  Premier Says Province Will not Sell off eHealth

Kathleen Wynne now clarifies that she is seeking suggestions to improve the agency that is responsible for patient health records in Ontario:

Wynne Vows No Sell-Off of eHealth Records System

eHealth is Not for Sale:  Wynne's Privatization Guru

5.  Mental Health Commission of Canada Releases "The Case for Diversity -- Promising Practices"

The webpage with a link to the report is here:

The Case for Diversity -- Promising Practices

We also have a piece by lead author Dr. Kwame McKenzie writing in the Huffington Post and a CBC News article:

Canada's Mental Health Services are Leaving Too Many Behind

Tailor Immigrant and Refugee Mental Health Services for Language, Culture, Report Urges

6.  Ontario Human Rights Commission Updates Policy on Alcohol and Drug Testing

The press release can be found here.  The guide is accessible as well.

7.  Caution Advised with Private Addiction Facilities

Unregulated facilities with questionable refund policies are in the news:

People should be "Leery" of Ontario's Boom in Unregulated Private Drug Rehab Facilities

8.  Innovative Practice:  Accommodating People with a Mental Health Diagnosis

A community economic development corporation and an employment agencies helping people with mental health and addictions issues are profiled in how they help people get back to work:

Tackling Mental Health in the Workplace

9.   First Person Account:  Getting off Adderall

Drugs prescribed for attention deficit disorders are increasingly being abused as "smart drugs"; this is one person's story:

Generation Adderall

10.  First Person Account:  3 Heroin Addicts in Vancouver Profiled

Using a combination of photos and the words of the participants, this documentary maker has produced a 3-part profile of these individuals living with substance use.  You can read an introduction and access the full series online:

"We Need You to See We're not Just Stereotyped Monsters"

11.  Toronto Star Investigation:  Pharmacies, Fees, and Nursing Homes

It has emerged that pharmacies will pay fees for the rights to dispense publicly funded drugs in nursing homes, but there is little oversight:

Pharmacies Pay Millions in "Bed Fees" to Ontario Nursing Homes

Among concerns that come to mind is whether the over-prescribing of anti-psychotics for seniors in these facilities are a consequence of such practices.

12.  Dr. Gabor Mate weighs in on Donald Trump

Whether you agree or disagree that Donald Trump deserves a psychiatric diagnosis, the Globe and Mail offered Dr. Mate a forum to express his views:

Donald Trump, Narcissism and Diagnosis as Sport

13.  Are Millennials Leading the Way in Workplace Health Benefits?

In light of Starbucks and other employers increasing the range of health benefits (including access to psychotherapy), it is worth considering whether the drive to attract and key young people has changed how life-work balance is being viewed:

Are Better Health Benefits a Tall Order?  Not for Millennial Workers


14.  New Drug Approaches in Depression

The research on ketamine is highlighted:

Novel Drugs for Depression

15.  Gaps in Mental Health Care and the ER:   How it Affects Children

This summation of a U.S. study of a decade of visits to the ER shows that children did not receive the best care during their time there, and were likely to receive poor post-discharge follow-up:

How Gaps in Mental Health Care Plays Out in Emergency Rooms

16.  Resource:  Plain Language Checklist for Anyone in Healthcare

This two-page guide is directed to getting information out to patients and caregivers.

17.  Confusing Rulings on Healthcare Professionals and Stolen Drugs

This report suggests wide variability in court decisions and employment possibilities with various cases:

As One Nurse Who Stole Narcotics has Firing Overturned, Others have Very Different Fates

18,  Resource:  Swell Recovery Toolkit

This is a small and simple toolkit intended for mental health and addiction workers who want to encourage recovery in clients:



19.   Announcement of Toronto OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials ™ Training

Please see the attachment for exciting details about the November 21 – 25, 2016 training program taking place in Toronto.  The registration form is enclosed.  For more information, please email opdi@opdi.org
Please note: this training requires a minimum of 10 participants to run.

20.  "Addressing Substance Use Institute" by RNAO (November 14-18) at North York Novotel
Please refer to this flyer for registration and more details.  OPDI ED Deb Sherman will be presenting about Recovery Oriented Approaches at this RNAO institute on Substance Use on November 18th along with representatives from the Mental Health Commission of Canada and the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.  As well, OPDI will participate in the Knowledge Fair on November 16th.
21.  Job Postings

It has been two years since Diana Capponi passed away and CAMH is still searching for her replacement.  Read about the Employment Works! Coordinator posting here.

York Support Services Network (Aurora) is hiring two part-time peer support facilitators.
22.  South East HSJCC Conference

Please refer to the brochure for more information about this November 16th conference in Kingston at the Ambassador Hotel on "Youth at Risk.
23.  EQIP (Health Quality Ontario, CMHA Ontario and Addictions and Mental Health Ontario) Training

Learn more about the introductory quality improvement training for the community mental health and addictions sector happening over one day across various sites in the fall and winter:

IDEAS Training

24.  Children's Mental Health Ontario Conference

Join Children’s Mental Health Ontario’s 2016 Conference: Focus on Quality – The Path to Better Outcomes for Children, Youth & Families. Be there as we showcase innovative ideas and approaches to child and youth mental health care and engage in provocative discussions to develop concrete solutions to important issues.  it takes place on November 21 & 22, 2016 (Pre-Conference November 20) at the
Marriott Toronto Downtown Eaton Centre in Toronto.

Early-bird registration is still in effect.

25.  Submit Abstracts to the Waypoint Institute Research 5th Annual Conference

The event takes place May 16-17, 2017 at the Holiday Inn and Conference Centre in Barrie.  You can read more here.

26.  OPDI Nominating Committee Letter and Board Application
As you may be aware there are two vacant positions on the Board.  Please find attached a letter from the Nominating Committee Chair, Dylan de la Riviere and a Board application if you are interested in applying.  Please note the deadline date is October 28, 2016.

Contributions and comments are welcome.  Please email to Raymond@opdi.org. “News to Go” in the Subject line: 

To subscribe to this e-mail update, please e-mail opdi@opdi.org.  Or visit our website here:  http://opdi.org

Like us on Facebook.  Follow us on TwitterYou will find more interesting stories there that we couldn't fit in NewsToGo.
NewsToGo is OPDI’s e-mail update providing timely and meaningful information to its stakeholders. The ideas expressed are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of OPDI. We welcome your submissions; please direct them to opdi@opdi.org. Preference will be given to material which directly relates to OPDI member affiliates and issues of concern to consumer/survivors throughout Ontario. We reserve the right to edit the length and style of all materials submitted. The current and back issues of NewsToGo can be found at http://www.opdi.org.