Deaths relating to fentanyl down in Red Deer: report shows

The number of accidental deaths related to fentanyl declined earlier this year, latest numbers from the province show.

Twelve people died in from January to September this year in Red Deer compared to 46 fentanyl-reated deaths last year.

The same downward trend is visible throughout the province, according to the third quarter statistics in the report. In Alberta 458 people died from opioid poisoning in 2019 (until September). In the same time frame in 2018, there were 576 deaths (511 fentanyl deaths from January to September 2018, 65 non-fentanyl opioid deaths from January to June, 2018).

In the most recent quarter, 120 people died from an apparent accidental fentanyl-related poisoning in the province, compared to 156 people in the previous quarter.

In the central zone, which covers Red Deer and the surrounding area, 35 people died due to fentanyl overdose from January to September this year. In 2018, 2017 and 2016, those numbers were 72, 46 and 39 respectively.

Numbers also show a decline in the number of deaths related to an opioid other than fentanyl. From January to September this year, there was one death in Red Deer due to an opioid drug poisoning other than fentanyl. In 2018 there were seven deaths, another seven in 2017 and 12 in 2016.

Red Deer hospital is one of the top 10 facilities utilized for emergency visits related to opioids and other drug use in the province. It ranks seventh with about four per cent of all emergency visits relating to opioids and other drugs. This number is in par with other Alberta emergency centres: Chinook Regional Hospital, Sheldon M Chumir Center, South Health Campus and Grey Nuns Community Hospital.

When it comes to rate of hospitalizations relating to opioids and other drugs, the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre ranks sixth out of top 10 facilities utilized for hospitalizations in the province. About five per cent of all hospital stays (537) relate to opioids, the numbers in the third quarter report shows.

The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) response related to opioid in Red Deer sits at 97 from January to September 2019. That number was 212 in 2018 and 137 in 2017.

Since January 1, 2016 2,397 individuals have died from an accidental opioid poisoning in Alberta.

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