By The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — Manitoba may soon have an official day to recognize the impact of drug overdoses on families and communities.
The opposition New Democrats have put forward a bill that would establish an annual bereavement day for drug-related deaths on the Sunday before Mother’s Day.
The Progressive Conservative government says it will support the bill, which has passed second reading and is to undergo public hearings before a final vote in the legislature.
NDP mental-health critic, Bernadette Smith, says the bill will raise awareness of the growing problem of drug addiction and reduce the stigma around it.
Early data from the chief medical examiner’s office shows there were 407 drug-related deaths in Manitoba in 2021 — more than double the historical average of 200.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has said there is evidence the COVID-19 pandemic is contributing to rising numbers across the country.