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Fatal opioid-related overdoses on the rise in Alberta

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Between January and September 2023, the province recorded 1,411 deaths.

  • Charles Delisle (View profile)Charles Delisle

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Opioid overdoses caused 136 deaths in Alberta in September. This is an increase of 17% compared to data from September 2022, when 116 deaths were recorded.

According to data from the Government of Alberta (New window), the province had 142 drug overdose-related deaths in September this year, with opioids involved in 95 per cent of those deaths.

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Rebecca Haines-Saah, professor at the University of Calgary's Cumming School of Medicine, blames the x27;the Alberta government's recovery-focused approach to addressing the overdose crisis.

This is the failed result of an Alberta model that the government is persisting with.

A quote from Rebecca Haines-Saah of the University of Calgary, Cumming School of Medicine

The government reports that this data is underreported because some poisoning cases are still being investigated by the doctor's office chief pathologist and could be added to the assessment.

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Between January and September 2023, the number of deaths linked to opioids stands at 1,411 in the province. The year 2022 had a total of 1,517.

According to Lina Meadows of the Boyle Street Center in Edmonton, the province's data is consistent with what she sees at the Boyle Street Centre. In October, 54 people in our centers died from opioids, she points out.

The rate of death linked to opioids per 100 000 population is 35.4 in Alberta. For the municipality of Lethbridge, this rate is at 117, followed by the Alberta capital at 66.3 and Medicine Hat at 50.9.

Rebecca Haines-Saah says some groups in Lethbridge have tried to establish supervised consumption centers. There is resistance in the community, she said.

Men account for 68% of total opioid-related deaths between January and September 2023.

Hunter Baril, press secretary for Mental Health and Addictions Minister Dan Williams, said in an email to Radio-Canada that more than 10,000 treatment spaces have been added in the province since 2019.

It also reminds you to use help services such as the Virtual Opioid Dependence Program (New window) (in English) for treatment.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">With information from Nishat Chowdhury and Travis McEwan

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