MLA says number of opioid deaths in Alberta ‘horrifying’

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 12:19pm


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MLA David Swann

Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann said he is “deeply troubled and saddened” to learn in the 2017 second quarter opioid report that “another 119 Albertans tragically lost their lives in the last three months to opioid overdose.”

He said the number of Albertans dying from fentanyl overdoses each quarter remains unacceptably high.

“Over the past six months fentanyl alone has taken 241 lives, and this number is projected to reach 480 by the end of year.”

Swan said the dramatic increase in fentanyl deaths over the previous year illustrates the fact that, “despite its best efforts, the NDP government still does not have a handle on this mental illness and addiction crisis.

“While the report calls this year’s number of overdose deaths ‘significant’, I find it horrifying, especially given that they are entirely preventable,” said Swann in a statement to the press.

“What Alberta need[s] is an evidence-based, coordinated plan, including wrap-around housing, social and psychological services that makes proper use all of the tools at the government’s disposal. This includes declaring a state of emergency and treating the issue as such.

He said Alberta needs increased public education campaigns for all demographics, improved access to harm reduction measures, and resources made more readily available, especially outside of our major urban areas.

“As we approach two deaths per day, we still must wait months for federal approval of safe consumption sites. I keep asking: what is the holdup here? This is supposed to be a national emergency. It is time for our provincial and federal governments to treat it as such.”