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Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath announces plans to expand health care for Ontarians as she campaigns at the Dog-Eared Cafe in Paris, Ont., on May 12.Nick Iwanyshyn/The Canadian Press

Ontario’s Democrats say if elected they’ll expand access to safe injection and consumption sites, increase detox beds and call on the federal government to decriminalize illicit drugs in an effort to combat the opioid crisis.

The provincial Liberals, meanwhile, say they’ll restart the opioid task force, pour several hundred million dollars to expand access to opioid overdose reversal medication and build out more housing with mental health supports.

The Progressive Conservatives said in the unpassed budget that’s serving as their election platform that they will provide naloxone kits and training in high-risk workplaces to help reduce opioid overdoses.

Opioid deaths and hospitalizations surged significantly across the province after the pandemic hit in early 2020.

Studies have shown the opioid crisis has hit the homeless population and those who were unemployed particularly hard during that time.

Provincial data show 2,423 people died of opioids in 2020, the latest yearly data available.

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