The latest overdose data is available in the Alberta Substance Use Surveillance System. (Black Press file photo)

The latest overdose data is available in the Alberta Substance Use Surveillance System. (Black Press file photo)

UPDATED: Overdose deaths in Red Deer jumped in 2020

Alberta Substance Use Surveillance System update released

Red Deer lost 56 lives to overdoses in 2020, more than double the deaths in 2019, according to the Alberta Substance Use Surveillance System.

Red Deer saw a 57 per cent increase from the 24 deaths in 2019.

“I just want people to recognize the 56 deaths we had in Red Deer have all been somebody who’s been loved and cared about and valued by people in the community,” said Sarah Fleck, clinical manager with Turning Point.

“These lives lost have as much value as any life lost.”

Across Central zone, fatal overdoses increased 43 per cent, from 74 deaths in 2019 to 128 last year.

The March 2021 update also showed Central zone had the second highest rate of drug poisonings last year at 32.3 per 100,000 people. The South zone had a slightly higher rate at 32.8.

Fleck said staff at Red Deer’s overdose prevention site reversed 1,190 overdoses last year, more than any other overdose prevention site, or supervised consumption site in Alberta, which points to the crisis in the city.

“People are accessing the OPS. We just need more resources, and more space, and more supports for people living with substance use.”

She said the decrease in community supports due to the pandemic is one of the problems, in addition to the change in the drug supply. If people haven’t been able to get opiates for a while and their tolerance decreases, the chance of a fatal overdose is much greater if the drugs they finally access are more potent.

Related:

Red Deer overdose prevention site awaits funding decision

Number of opioid-related deaths in Alberta ‘troubling,’ says Turning Point executive director

Financial support to service providers, and to clients to access opiate replacement therapy, could make a difference for people struggling with addiction right now, she said.

The six-month extension given to Red Deer’s temporary overdose prevention site runs out at the end of March and there has been no word from the province about future funding.

“I know that the services we’re providing is invaluable and I am confident the province can recognize the work that we’re doing and continue to fund us, but we don’t have anything official.”

Fleck said Turning Point remains optimistic because of the site’s impact, like diverting people from hospital during the pandemic, in addition to saving lives.

“We’re providing an invaluable service to the community and not just to the people who use drugs.”



News tips

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Alberta Health Services Central Zoneoverdose

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

Just Posted

Cowboy Kicks, originally scheduled for May 5, will now take place Sept. 18. (Contributed photo)
Westerner Park’s Cowboy Kicks fundraiser moved to Sept. 18

A major fundraiser for Westerner Park and the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sport… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels forward Josh Tarzwell tries to tip a point shot past Lethbridge Hurricanes goalie Car Tetachuk in WHL action Friday night at the Centrium. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Red Deer Rebels struggles continue, drop seventh straight to Hurricanes

Hurricanes score three power-play goals in 6-3 win

Downtown Red Deer patio restaurants have been busy this summer. Contributed photo
City of Red Deer expediting patio application process for restaurants

The City of Red Deer is allowing businesses to install patios prior… Continue reading

RDC Queens forward Camryn Wallan was named the 2020-21 RDC Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Wallan, Podgorenko named 2020-21 RDC Outstanding Athletes of the Year

Even with the cancellation of the 2020-21 Alberta Colleges Athletic Association, RDC… Continue reading

A new Angus Reid poll says that close to two-thirds of Albertans think premier Jason Kenney is doing a bad job handling the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
75% of Albertans disapprove of Kenney’s pandemic leadership: poll

Nearly 75 per cent of Albertans believe Premier Jason Kenney is doing… Continue reading

Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan is among those who have signed an open letter criticizing the government’s return to stricter health measures. (Advocate file photo).
Updated: Kenney tells UCP caucus COVID-19 dissent OK, breaking health rules means expulsion

15 MLAs released letter on Wednesday critical of new health restrictions

Here masking tape was applied to both sides of a joint to be caulked. Peeling the tape off as soon as the caulking is smeared with a finger leaves behind a neat edge. (Photo by Robert Maxwell)
Houseworks: Unheated spaces can cause tools to rust

Q: How well do woodworking tools survive in an unheated Canadian workshop?… Continue reading

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is seen in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, Friday, Nov. 29, 2019. The University of Victoria and the head coach of its women's rowing team have denied allegations of demeaning and aggressive treatment outlined in a lawsuit filed last summer by a former student and team member. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Canada's Julia Grosso, right, and Wales' Natasha Harding battle for the ball during the women's international friendly soccer match at Leckwith Stadium, Wales, Friday, April 9, 2021. Canada blanked Wales 3-0 but lost captain Christine Sinclair to an injury in the fist half of a soccer friendly Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-PA, Nick Potts
Canada blanks Wales in soccer friendly but has injury scare with Christine Sinclair

Canada blanks Wales in soccer friendly but has injury scare with Christine Sinclair

Canada's DTH Van Der Merwe, left, is tackled by Hong Kong's Toby Fenn, during the 2019 Japan Rugby Union World Cup qualifying match between Canada and Hong Kong, in Marseille, southern France, Friday, Nov. 23, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Claude Paris
Canadian rugby star DTH van der Merwe enjoying life in Los Angeles

Canadian rugby star DTH van der Merwe enjoying life in Los Angeles

Team Canada skip Brendan Bottcher, right, makes a shot as second Brad Thiessen sweeps against Germany at the Men's World Curling Championships in Calgary, Alta., Friday, April 9, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canada’s Bottcher heads into men’s world curling playoffs on a winning note

Canada’s Bottcher heads into men’s world curling playoffs on a winning note

Justin Rose, of England, hits out of a bunker on the seventh hole during the second round of the Masters golf tournament on Friday, April 9, 2021, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Rose clings to 1-shot Masters lead as Spieth, Thomas lurk

Rose clings to 1-shot Masters lead as Spieth, Thomas lurk

People shop for essential items at Costco as pallets block off aisles and sections that have been deemed non-essential during the COVID-19 pandemic, in Mississauga, Ont., Thursday, April 8, 2021. Retailers in Ontario are adjusting to new lockdown restrictions with stores like grocers, discount and big box chains roping off non-essential items from underwear to calculators. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Ontario retailers adjust to new rules, non-essential goods off-limits to shoppers

Ontario retailers adjust to new rules, non-essential goods off-limits to shoppers

A worker smooths concrete at a construction site in Toronto on January 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
Economy adds 303,000 jobs in March, unemployment rate falls, Statistics Canada says

Economy adds 303,000 jobs in March, unemployment rate falls, Statistics Canada says

Most Read