Alberta government says more work needed as fentanyl deaths continue to rise
Fentanyl pills are shown in an undated police handout photo. (Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams)
The Canadian Press
Published Monday, November 27, 2017 4:37PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, December 7, 2017 2:10PM EST
EDMONTON -- New numbers show the death toll from fentanyl in Alberta continues to rise.
Alberta Health reports that 400 people have died from apparent fentanyl-related overdoses in the first nine months of this year.
That's 43 more deaths than in all of 2016.
Associate Health Minister Brandy Payne says measures the province has taken have reduced overdose deaths, but adds it's clear more work needs to be done.
Payne notes the province has expanded treatment facilities and programs and has increased access to naloxone, which can provide immediate life-saving treatment to an overdose patient.
The numbers suggest the fentanyl problem is largely an urban one, with 81 per cent of deaths this year in larger centres.
Almost half the fentanyl-related deaths since 2016 have been in Calgary.
Payne says it's a crisis that transcends geographic boundaries.
"If you look across North America, the opioid overdose rates are rising in jurisdiction after jurisdiction," she said.