OTTAWA - The Trudeau government is facing pressure to make safer opioids available to people who use street drugs as overdose deaths continue to increase.

The push is coming from public-health advocates and from at least one Liberal MP from Toronto, Nathaniel Erksine-Smith.

British Columbia's provincial health officer has called for Ottawa to look at the issue of supply, saying B.C. and other parts of the country are grappling with a poisonous street-drug supply that is killing people because they can't tell what's in the drugs they use.

Richard Elliott, the executive director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, said it is necessary to address the toxicity of the drug supply to reduce the number of deaths.

His organization was part of a coalition that pointed to toxicology results from across Canada showing opioids on the illegal market are often contaminated with extra-potent fentanyl.

Health Canada said in a statement that its minister, Ginette Petitpas Taylor, asked officials in the fall to explore options to address the toxic supply.