A new report shows that during the pandemic, there were more deaths from “unintentional side effects” than COVID-19, particularly among younger Canadians.

The latest data from Statistic Canada on excess mortality during the pandemic are out, and the news isn’t what health officials expected: Deaths from other causes outnumbered COVID deaths by more than 4-to-1.

Specifically, the report from the Canadian Vital Statistics Death Database said: “The excess mortality is, in large part, related to other factors such as increases in the number of deaths attributed to causes associated with substance use and misuse, including unintentional (accidental) poisonings and diseases and conditions related to alcohol consumption.”

The report added that the disruption of available services and programs for substance abuse may have been a contributing factor to the excess deaths. Alcohol-induced deaths increased, too, and they may also have been influenced by “psychological impacts of the pandemic,” the report said.

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