Five people died from fentanyl-related overdoses in Red Deer between January and June. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Fentanyl fatalities decline in Red Deer

Alberta Health releases new opioid report

Red Deer had the lowest fentanyl-related fatality rate in the province for the first six months of the year, according to the latest Alberta Health statistics.

Five people died from fentanyl-related overdoses in the city.

Stacey Carmichael, executive director of the harm reduction agency Turning Point, said overdose prevention sites or supervised consumption sites, naloxone distribution, and easier access to treatment are making a difference.

“I like to think the various strategies we put in place in Red Deer, and across the province, are helping,” Carmichael said.

Between Oct. 1 2018 and Aug. 31, 2019, 564 people made a total of 33,007 visits to Turning Point’s overdose prevention site where staff intervened in 848 overdoses.

Since the site has been opened 24 hours a day, visits average about 140 per day.

“It’s busy. There’s always someone in there using the service,” she said about the site that has four booths for clients.

The 2019 second quarter Alberta Opioid Response Surveillance Report showed Red Deer’s rate of fentanyl-related deaths was 9.2 as of June. Grand Prairie had the highest rate at 51 (19 deaths), followed by Lethbridge at 22.5 (11 deaths).

In 2018, 46 people died in Red Deer, and by the end of that year, the city’s fatality rate was 42.8 which was the highest rate among Alberta’s largest communities.

In recent months, fentanyl deaths were on the decline in the province, until the second quarterly report when 153 were reported, up from 135 in the first quarter.

Carmichael said it can only take one bad batch of drugs for fatalities to climb.

The report explained that in 83 per cent of the fentanyl-related poisonings, at least one other substance contributed to the death. Most frequently that drug was methamphetamine (51 per cent) and cocaine (25 per cent).

“We can never have enough awareness, or information, out there,” she said about the possibility of fentanyl-tainted drugs.

Related:

Overdose prevention site helps reduce fentanyl deaths in Red Deer

Red Deer sees highest rate of fentanyl deaths

For the first six months of the year, EMS responded 56 to opioid-related events in Red Deer. In 2018, EMS responded to 212 throughout the year.

“EMS calls are down for Red Deer which is great because we know they are busy,” Carmichael said.

Read the full report here.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Canadian annual inflation rate 1.9% last month as lower gas prices weigh on rate

OTTAWA — The annual inflation rate was 1.9 per cent in September… Continue reading

China’s Huawei reports sales gain despite US sanctions

BEIJING — Chinese tech giant Huawei on Wednesday reported a double-digit gain… Continue reading

Alberta introduces legislation to modernize ranch fees, grazing leases

EDMONTON — Alberta is modernizing the rent and fees ranchers and cattle… Continue reading

Pot use admission at U.S. border snagging Canadian boomers, says lawyer

VICTORIA — Canadians wanting to cross the U.S. border are being asked… Continue reading

City of Red Deer to explore better — but not costlier — ways of residential snow plowing

Too many public complaints came in last winter, says city councillor

Your community calendar

Wednesday Red Deer River Naturalists Flower Focus Group Meeting. When: Oct. 16… Continue reading

Davies, Cavallini score as Canada men end 34-year winless run against U.S.

TORONTO — After years of watching from the cheap seats as the… Continue reading

Strong off-season has Canada’s Moore-Towers and Marinaro feeling optimistic

The Canadian figure skating scene underwent a dramatic change last season after… Continue reading

Country singer Dallas Harms, who helped jump-start Ronnie Hawkins’ career, dies at 84

TORONTO — Canadian country singer Dallas Harms, who sparked a number of… Continue reading

Alberta government won’t seek meeting with teen enviro-activist Greta Thunberg

EDMONTON — The Alberta government won’t seek out a meeting with teen… Continue reading

Michael Frolik gets goal in 800th NHL game, Flames down Flyers

Flames 3 Flyers 1 CALGARY — Michael Frolik scored in his 800th… Continue reading

Wild-card Nationals head to World Series with sweep of Cards

Nationals 7 Cardinals 4 (Washington wins series 4-0) WASHINGTON — It was… Continue reading

Most Read