Canadians have a big drug problem

The reality of Canada's opioid crisis, a new human species is discovered in the Philippines and details of Disney's new streaming service.

Canadians have a big drug problem

The reality of Canada's opioid crisis, a new human species is discovered in the Philippines and details of Disney's new streaming service.

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✨  Good morning! Today is Thursday, April 11, 2019 and this looks pretty much exactly like we expected.


• The Background

In case you somehow were unaware, the world’s in the midst of a major opioid crisis. It’s affected countries around the world, including Canada, though until now we didn’t know just how widespread the damage has been. According to new data released yesterday by the Public Health Agency of Canada, 10,300 Canadians have died from opioid-related overdoses since 2016. The data covers any opioid-related death that occurred between January 2016 to September 2018 across the country, though the report notes that British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta are seeing the highest death rates. Fentanyl is also a big part of the data, as 73% of the deaths between January 2018 and September 2018 were due to fentanyl or fentanyl-related substances. CTV News

• What Else You Need to Know

Though the government’s tried to intervene in the crisis (think prevention sites and naloxone kits), the numbers haven’t seen a change. According to the PHAC, 3,286 Canadians died from apparent opioid-related overdoses during the first nine months of 2018 (and 93% of those were accidental). The most tragic part (though the whole’s thing’s sad AF) is that “the vast majority” of deaths were among young and middle-aged adults (76% were male). 

• What’s Next?

Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor announced that the government has proposed an additional $30.5 million over five years to help manage the crisis. Taylor also announced that Ottawa would provide an additional $1 million in ongoing funding to address “persistent gaps” in the areas of harm reduction and treatment. 


• Same But Different

Human history just got a little more complicated. Yesterday, it was revealed that scientists in the Philippines had discovered a new human species(!) known as Homo luzonensis, the species was found on the island of Luzon, and it’s believed it walked the earth between 67,000 years and 50,000 years ago. Homo luzonensis seem to be a mix of recent humans and australopithecines, a.k.a. upright-walking ape-like creatures that lived in Africa between two and four million years ago. (Kind of sounds like some of our Tinder dates.) The discovery also means that primitive human relatives made it all the way to South-East Asia from Africa, a trip that paleo-anthropologists previously thought impossible. BBC News


• Canada: Checkpoint

The Liberals’ latest policy change has Canada’s reputation as a safe haven for those fleeing dangerous conditions abroad at the top of Trudeau’s damage control list. The federal government has proposed changes to asylum laws that would prevent migrants who’ve made refugee claims in other countries — including the U.S. — from also making such claims here. Border Security Minister Bill Blair says the reforms are intended to stop “asylum-shopping” where asylum-seekers enter Canada “irregularly” — that is, by avoiding official border checkpoints — by passing through a third country which should be considered safe for them to stay in. Refugee advocates and lawyers say the changes will “strip human-rights protections from vulnerable asylum-seekers.” But the PM defends the changes, saying they’ll help to “[ensure] the system is fair for everyone” and stating that regardless of this rule, “every single person who comes to Canada — whether it’s regularly or irregularly — goes through our immigration system, gets the full treatment within our asylum system.” CTV News

• U.S.: A Web of Lies

The U.S. government has taken the first step towards re-instating net neutrality. The Save the Internet Act passed through the House of Representatives yesterday by a vote of 232 to 190, which largely fell along party lines. Despite many Republicans saying they support an open and free internet, only one Republican representative voted for the bill. (We see you, Bill Posey of Florida!) While the vote was definitely a step forward for the Obama-era regulations, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised that the bill won’t make it through the Senate. And if by some miracle it does, President Trump will likely veto it, so it doesn’t look like the U.S. will be restoring net neutrality anytime soon. CNET


“I just felt like the system could be so different, and I wanted to fight to fix it, and if I knew more, I could do more.”

Kim Kardashian West, Esq.*, reveals plans for a career 180° to follow in her father’s footsteps. She’s currently undertaking a four-year apprenticeship with a law firm in San Francisco, with a goal of taking the bar exam in 2022. Vogue


• An Uber Big Deal

Make sure to check surge pricing before requesting your next Uber ride. The company’s rumoured to be releasing detailed information about its stock today as it (finally) files for an initial public offering. Uber isn’t just seeking any plain, ol’ IPO: the ride-sharing company is seeking $10 billion, making it the largest IPO of the year and the 10th largest of all time. Investors and analysts are waiting with bated breath to see how Uber’s margins compare to those of its biggest competitor, Lyft. Aside from competing with Lyft’s numbers, Uber will also need to defend itself against its own less-than desirable financial trajectory — the company presented $1.8 billion in losses in 2018 (which, at least, is 15% lower than its losses in 2017). Financial Post

• What a Hoot

Get ready for endless laughs — Netflix is giving its popular comedy specials new life in the form of Netflix Is A Joke Radio, a new full-time satellite radio channel exclusive to SiriusXM. Going live on satellite radio channel 93 on April 15, the channel will broadcast audio from Netflix’s extensive lineup of stand-up comedy shows. All your fave side-splitters will be there, including Adam Sandler, Aziz Ansari, Bill Burr, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Ellen DeGeneres, Jerry Seinfeld, John Mulaney, Ricky Gervais, Sarah Silverman and more. But as they say in show biz, that’s not all — the channel will also be home to an original daily talk show featuring a (sure to be hilarious) cast of celebrity guests and comedians chatting about pop culture and current events. Variety


• Basketball: Slam Dunk Canuck

The madness isn’t over at Duke — aside from losing in the NCAA semi-finals, Duke University is about to lose one of its key players. Six-foot-seven forward R.J. Barrett, who hails from Mississauga, Ont., will leave the school’s team after just one season to enter the 2019 NBA Draft, where he’s predicted to be picked in the top three. Sharing the news on Twitter, Barrett said he’s already accomplished one of his childhood dreams of playing for Duke, and is now hoping to achieve his other: to “play in the NBA and have great success there.” He will join (at least) five other Canadian hopefuls in the quest for success: Mfiondu Kabengele and Simi Shittu (both of Burlington, Ont.), Ignas Brazdeikis (Oakville, Ont.), Lindell Wigginton (Dartmouth, N.S.), and Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Toronto) are also vying for the big leagues for the 2019–2020 season. The NBA Draft will be held on June 20 in New York. Sportsnet


• True Stories

Disney’s working really hard to make its upcoming streaming service worth your while. Yesterday, it announced its line-up of non-fiction programming (documentaries are 2019’s buzziest viewing, after all) and it’s scored some pretty high-profile names to fill it out. Kristen Bell will be giving musical theatre nerds centre stage with the return of her show Encore!, and Kelly Ripa and husband Mark Consuelos play family counsellors in (Re)Connect. Travel doc Rogue Trip will follow former ABC journalist Bob Woodruff and his son, Mack, on globetrotting father-son adventures. In a pretty direct slight to competitor Netflix, Disney also struck a deal with production team Supper Club, a.k.a. the geniuses behind foodie faves Chef’s Table and Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Rounding out the lineup are some Disney-inspired series, including a Walt Disney World cooking competition cheekily titled Be Our Chef and a yet-to-be-named look back at the history of Walt Disney Imagineering. Variety


• Read

Comedian Chelsea Handler is back in the book aisle with her sixth novel, Life Will Be the Death of Me:…And You Too! where she reveals exactly what she went through after Donald Trump was elected president. 

• Watch

After a very, very, very long wait, Game of Thrones is finally back on Sunday (9pm ET, HBO) to kick off its final season 😥. 

• Listen

Renowned reproductive psychiatrist, Dr. Alexandra Sacks, sits down with mothers to talk about the joys and challenges that come along with motherhood in her new podcast, Motherhood Sessions (premiering today). 


• When All Is Lost

When the world makes fun of millennials, it’s usually (mostly) unwarranted and baseless — but sometimes, a golden nugget appears that justifies all those jabs. Today, 21-year-old Jessy Taylor is that golden nugget. The former Instagram star, whose account was tragically deleted, took to YouTube to tearfully beg site administrators to restore her access. Why the meltdown, you ask? Well, Taylor isn’t made for a 9-to-5 job (“that isn’t me” “that’s why I moved to L.A.”) and is worthless without her following (she’s worried she’ll end up a “homeless prostitute”). Taylor also noted she has no skills (her words, not ours) and that she’s $20K in debt. (Too much avocado toast, perhaps — sorry, we had to.) St. Thomas Times-Journal


• #UniteforParkinsons

April 11 is World Parkinson’s Day, drawing awareness to the daily challenges faced by people living with the debilitating disease.


• It’s official: Benjamin Netanyahu will be the prime minister of Israel for another term.  

• And Britain will have until October 31, 2019 to get its Brexit disaster in order and finally, actually leave the EU. 

• Thanks to the provincial government (city council was nowhere to be found), Toronto is set to get a bigger and better subway. 

• Good news for Google lovers: the company’s Pixelbook group is, in fact, making new laptops and tablets

• CBC’s music festival is heading back to Toronto this spring, with stars like, um, Stars, Rhye, and Buffy Saint-Marie. 

• Sandy and Danny’s love story isn’t over. There’s a Grease prequel in the works that’ll explore that famous summer. 


• Best Seat in the House

If you thought Snuggies were the pinnacle of comfort, you clearly haven’t been introduced to this delight.

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