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Bereavement day for drug-related deaths may soon be recognized in Manitoba

Manitoba's opposition NDP have put forward a bill that would establish a yearly bereavement day for drug-related deaths on the Sunday before Mother's Day. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

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 a yearly bereavement day for drug-related deaths on the Sunday before Mother’s Day.

Read more: ‘Everybody’s responsibility’: Number of deadly overdoses surging in Manitoba

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.

Click to play video: 'Manitoba opposition calls for inquest into overdose death' Manitoba opposition calls for inquest into overdose death
Manitoba opposition calls for inquest into overdose death – Dec 1, 2021

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.

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Read more: Manitoba on pace to exceed drug-overdose deaths in 2021

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.

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