June 19 (UPI) -- The Canadian government announced new restrictions on opioid marketing Tuesday, after a record number of citizens died from suspected overdoses last year.
Canadian Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor told CTV news the government plans to restrict most forms of opioid advertising. Her office said industry marketing can "unduly influence health professionals, leading to over-prescription of opioids."
The new restrictions came after the country's Public Health Agency released data that showed nearly 4,000 likely opioid overdose deaths in Canada in 2017.
The number of opioid-related deaths increased 34 percent from 2016, a new record.
Other key findings showed 92 percent of overdoses were accidental, 72 percent involved fentanyl or fentanyl analogues and most accidental overdoses involved men and people in their 30s.
"I am deeply concerned by the opioid crisis in Canada," said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam. "This is unlike any other public health crisis we have experienced in recent years."
The report was compiled from medical examiners across all Canadian provinces and territories.