Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus says the federal government should be taking big drug companies to task for their roles in the nation’s opioid crisis.

“We need a coherent strategy. Public health support. We have very few tools to help people who are suffering from addiction. We need more resources on the ground. How do we pay for that? Well, let’s start talking about suing big Pharma. Let’s start going after the pushers to keep them out  of our communities while not criminalizing the people who become victimized by being addicted,” said Angus.

“We have to have the conversations with OHIP or within our health care institutions, if you will, because we legally distribute this stuff, and it’s more addictive than cocaine. What are we doing? We must have this conversation. It must be controlled because we live with the tragedies here,” added George Pirie, Mayor of Timmins.

Meanwhile, others say it’s also important to investigate where else the highly addictive painkillers are coming from.

“We definitely have to look at combatting the illegal part of it as well. Are they just coming from pharmaceutical companies? Are they coming into the county illegally? How are the drugs being obtained is the biggest thing we have to look at,” said Conservative Candidate Kraymr Grenke.

Liberal candidate Michelle Boileau tells CTV News her party has provided new funding to equip border officers with tools to intercept fentanyl and other substances.

While politicians debate the issue, local health officials say the number of reported opioid overdoses in the Timmins area more than doubled last year, from around six in 2017 to thirteen.

Timmins police officials also say officers respond to an average of 25 opioid related emergency calls a month.