Associate Health Minister Brandy Payne at a recent stop in Central Alberta. (Black Press file photo)

Alberta opioid awareness campaign reflects input from affected families

Alberta Health Services has introduced a new provincewide opioid awareness campaign.

It includes advertising on light-rail transit trains in Edmonton and Calgary, billboards, radio spots and posters at post-secondary campuses, in restaurants and in bars.

Associate Health Minister Brandy Payne says the campaign hopes to increase awareness of the supports available that could help save lives otherwise lost to fentanyl and other opioids.

It also reflects input from families who have lost loved ones to an opioid overdose.

Payne notes that the province is already increasing access to opioid dependency treatment, naloxone kits to counteract fentanyl overdoses and supervised consumption services.

The province released a report in late November that said 462 people died in Alberta from fentanyl overdoses between Jan. 1 and Nov. 11 last year compared with 293 in 2016.

Kathryn Todd, an Alberta Health Services vice-president, says the opioid crisis affects everyone and all Albertans need to know what they can do to help.

“The opioid crisis is impacting Albertans in all communities, from all walks of life and at all ages and stages,” Todd said in a release Monday.

“This campaign will encourage Albertans to learn about naloxone, rescue breathing and other harm reduction measures, preparing them to support friends and family who use drugs.”

The campaign is to run through March.

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