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.


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.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Turning Point

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer County has three new confirmed COVID-19 cases

The provincial government has confirmed three new COVID-19 cases in Red Deer… Continue reading

Rimbey textile artists creating hand-made masks

Group has also been helped out by a local business

People ‘can count on’ Alberta RCMP amid COVID-19 pandemic, says deputy commissioner

Albertans “can count on the RCMP every day” during the COVID-19 pandemic,… Continue reading

Central Albertans win big in 2020 STARS Lottery

A few central Albertans won big in the 2020 STARS lottery. Jeff… Continue reading

107 new cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, 5 additional deaths

More than 1,000 cases in Alberta total

WATCH: Red Deer emergency call centre hours change starting next week

Hours at the City of Red Deer’s COVID-19 emergency call centre will… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

Taste of home schooling generating new interest among parents

Selena Valencia is on the fence when it comes to home-schooling her… Continue reading

‘The Charter still applies’: Canadians urged to monitor civil liberties during pandemic

Civil rights advocates say citizens need to be vigilant about how authorities are using new powers

Essential workers talk about how COVID-19 affects them

Health-care workers, grocery store staff, transit drivers and food delivery workers are… Continue reading

Sister of woman found dead last month is accused of first-degree murder

/COQUITLAM, B.C. — A first-degree murder charge has been laid against the… Continue reading

Trudeau announces more financial help for country’s most vulnerable

$40 million will go to Women and Gender Equality Canada

Most Read