The first few months of 2019 saw a decrease in central Alberta overdose deaths.
There were just two accidental fentanyl-related poisoning deaths in Red Deer from January to March, according to a first-quarter report released by Alberta Health. Red Deer had 47 fentanyl-related deaths in 2018, which was the third most in Alberta.
During the first quarter of this year, Alberta Health Services’ Central Zone saw eight fentanyl-related poisoning deaths, the lowest of the five zones – in the first three months of 2018, there were 21.
In all of Alberta, there were 137 accidental fentanyl-related poisoning deaths, 80 per cent of which occurred in larget urban municipalities (Red Deer, Calgary, Edmonton, Grand Prairie, Fort McMurray, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat). In 2018, on average, there were 168 of these deaths per quarter.
Edmonton and Calgary continue to have the most deaths with 31 and 51, respectively. Grande Prairie has the highest rate of deaths per 100,000 people.
In the fourth quarter of 2018, there were 27 accidental non-fentanyl opioid-related deaths in Alberta. By comparison, there were also 27 in the third quarter and 33 in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Opioids were involved in 80 per cent of all confirmed drug and alcohol poisoning deaths, both accidental and suicide, throughout the province in 2018.
In the last quarter of 2018, there were 3,100 emergency and urgent care visits related to hard associated with opioids and other drug use.
Supervised consumption services sites in Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge and Grande Prairie saw 94,614 visits during the first quarter of 2019. Alberta Health’s report does not have the statistics for Red Deer’s site.