South Health Zone on track to surpass 2016 fentanyl related deaths

By Lara Fominoff @fomsy1 on Twitter
August 27, 2017 - 8:54am

LETHBRIDGE - The provincial government has released its 2017 second quarter results on the opioid crisis and response. 
So far, the south health zone is on track to surpass last year's fatalities due to fentanyl overdoses, according to AHS Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kristen Klein.
"We have seen 11 fentanyl related so far in 2017 compared with six in the same time period last year. We did have in 2016, 17 deaths overall in the whole year, so we are seeing more this year so far. If our trend continues how it is, even if it doesn't increase further, we will have more deaths in 2017 related to fentanyl than in 2016, across the province and in south zone in particular."
Klein says the south zone also a higher incidence of people visiting Emergency Rooms to treat opioid-related issues, including overdoses.
"We do see the highest rate of emergency department visits related to opioid use and other drugs and substances in the south zone. So about 25 per cent higher than the rest of the province."
Those numbers equate to 226.6 visits per 100,000 person years in the south zone, compared to the provincial average, which is 181.9 visits per 100,000 person years.
Klein says the highest number of those who are overdosing and dying across the province in all health zones are males in their early 30s.

Section of Highway 3 closed near Taber on Saturday due to train and semi collision

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