Red Deer and Lethbridge rank 1 and 2 for highest number of fentanyl deaths in Alberta

By Troy Gillard -- RDNewsNOW
May 31, 2018 - 3:09pm

RED DEER --  The number of fentanyl-related deaths in Alberta has gone down for the first time in two years.

In the first three months of 2018, Alberta Health reported 158 accidental fentanyl poisoning deaths. That’s down from 183 reported in the final quarter of 2017 but up 33 per cent of the first quarter of last year and a whopping 129 per cent from the opening three months of 2016.

The Central Zone saw 17 fentanyl-related deaths in the first quarter of this year, a rate of 13.9 per 100,000 person years.

Ten of those deaths occurred in Red Deer for a rate of 37.3 per 100,000 person years, the highest in the province.

Lethbridge was second-highest at 32.1 followed by Calgary (21.6) and Edmonton (17.4).

On average, two individuals die every day in Alberta as a result of an apparent accidental opioid overdose, according to Alberta Health.

In addition to releasing the latest fentanyl and opioid statistics, the province announced Tuesday it will extend the term of the minister's Opioid Emergency Response Commission for another 18 months.

The government has committed $63 million in Budget 2018 for actions to address the opioid crisis, an increase of $7 million over last year.


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