The Alberta government has improved its reporting of the Fentanyl disaster. Sadly, improved reporting doesn’t mean good news!
- There have been 482 deaths opioid overdose deaths in the past 9 months. That is 100+ more than last year.
- Fentanyl accounted for 388 of those deaths (80%).
- Since January 2015 1,034 deaths have been a result of fentanyl. For reference, that is as many people as live in villages like Bentley, Falher or Viking.
- Five hundred more emergency room visits for substance abuse occurred in the second quarter 2017 (April, May June) compared to the same time a year ago (2,300 to 2,800). 13% of all ER cases in the Royal Alex hospital are linked to drug overdoses.
- Calgary and Edmonton are hardest hit communities.
- Males 30 to 40 account for the largest demographic that overdose and die.
Fighting the battle
- 27,700 antidote kits (naloxone) have been distributed.
- 2,330 cases of reversal of fentanyl overdoses have been reported using the kits.
- A supervised consumption site in Calgary is open. Renovations are underway in Edmonton at 4 locations including the Royal Alex hospital, and 3 inner city agencies. A site in Lethbridge is being renovated.
- In the past 30 days there have been significant drug busts in Edmonton, Brooks, Lloydminster, Fort McMurray, Vermilion, Lethbridge, Airdrie, Cold Lake and Calgary
- One of the busts in Calgary netted $4 million in drugs (16,000 fentanyl pills, cocaine and meth and 11 handguns).
Despite concerted efforts, the fentanyl crisis is deeper this year than last. While many lives have been saved, and police efforts have had success, the problem’s trend line is headed in the wrong direction.