Nine carfentanil deaths in Central Alberta in 2017

Alberta Health releases interim report

The rate of carfentanil and fentanyl-related deaths is climbing in Central Alberta according to the latest statistics from Alberta Health.

The department’s Opioids and Substances of Misuse 2017 Q4 interim report showed Central Alberta’s rate per 100,000 population climbed to 2.1 per cent with a total of nine deaths for the period between Jan. 1 to Nov. 11.

For the 12 months of 2016 Central Alberta only had two carfentanil deaths, or a rate of 0.4 per cent.

Central Alberta also saw a slight increase in the rate of fentanyl deaths in 2017 at 8.8 per cent (37 deaths), up from 8.5 per cent (41 deaths) in 2016.

In more than 10 months carfentanil deaths climbed to 125 and fentanyl deaths to 462 across the province in 2017. In 2016 there were 29 carfentanil and 368 fentanyl-related deaths.

“I wish there was a magic answer because people are dying — 1.5 Albertans every single day — from fentanyl. In Red Deer so far this month, that we know of at Turning Point, we’ve had five deaths related to drug poisoning,” said executive director Stacey Carmichael on Thursday.

“I’m guessing that’s because we’re seeing an increase in more potent drugs. It’s not like these guys and girls are going out to find themselves some carfentanil. They’re not trying to kill themselves.”

She said a single grain of carfentanil is enough to kill.

“It’s easy for us to say if it’s going to kill you, don’t do it. That’s not their intention. They’re living with a serious addiction.”

And it’s not just affecting Turning Point clients, she said.

“I can’t stress enough how important it is that people realize that this is not just impacting who you might think. It’s potentially impacting a kid that’s taken a party drug for the first time, or someone who thinks they might be getting a Percocet for pain relief.

“Lots of people think it doesn’t impact them, or won’t impact them, and it very well might.”

Turning Point is one of the eight original agencies that has distributed free take-home naloxone kits since 2015 made available as part of Alberta’s response to the rise in fentanyl overdoses and deaths.

Naloxone temporarily reverses the symptoms of fentanyl and other opioid poisonings and can keep people alive until paramedics arrive. It’s possible for a person to lapse into an overdose again once naloxone wears off so more naloxone may be required.

She said naloxone has saved countless lives in Red Deer and unfortunately that’s all the community has right now to deal the crisis.

As of Tuesday Turning Point had given out 252 kits so far this month, heard about 53 overdose reversals and four deaths. By Thursday there had been one more fatality.

“We’re really scrambling as a community to address this problem and we’re scrambling across the country.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Buffalo Lake residents voice opposition to proposed RV Resort

County of Stettler holds contentious Public Hearing on Paradise Shores RV Resort

Budget good for RDC, not so much Red Deer businesses

College can apply for more tech spots, but minimum wage is still going up

Red Deer hospital expansion advances to square one

Planning for future needs gets $1-million over five years

Case of former MLA accused of sex assault, interference back in court next month

Former Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA Don MacIntyre’s case to return to court on April 19

WATCH: Hundreds come to Red Deer Rebels Fan Fest

The Red Deer Rebels met with legions of their of fans just… Continue reading

Excavator frees dolphins trapped by pack ice in Newfoundland harbour

HEARTS DELIGHT, N.L. — A pod of dolphins trapped by pack ice… Continue reading

Structure fire destroys home in Mirror

A house in Mirror is completely damaged due to an overnight structure… Continue reading

Trudeau warns senators not to thwart will of Canadians on marijuana bill

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is reminding senators that his government… Continue reading

Burgers outselling classic baguette sandwiches in France

PARIS — Forget the baguette. The French are going crazy for burgers.… Continue reading

Can Zuckerberg’s media blitz take the pressure off Facebook?

NEW YORK — In the wake of a privacy scandal involving a… Continue reading

Brace for more red ink, no good plan for balance in Alberta budget: opposition

EDMONTON — Opposition parties say Albertans should brace for a provincial budget… Continue reading

Police: Austin bomber’s motive still unknown, despite video

PFLUGERVILLE, Texas — A 25-minute cellphone video left behind by the bomber… Continue reading

Facebook crisis-management lesson: What not to do

NEW YORK — The crisis-management playbook is pretty simple: Get ahead of… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month