Recent statistics from Alberta’s health ministry show that 458 people have died from an accidental opioid poisoning so far in 2019. That is down from 576 deaths in the same time period in 2018.
Since January 1, 2016, 2,397 individuals have died from an accidental opioid overdose in Alberta (or just under two people every day on average). Almost all opioid poisoning deaths are now related to fentanyl.
So far, in 2019, the annual provincial per 100,000 person years rate of fentanyl poisoning deaths is 20 per cent lower than the rate in 2018, and 6 per cent lower than the rate in 2017. A positive outcome according to a new Opioid Response Surveillance Report from the province, December 2019.
The hope of many involved in the fight with the opioid crisis is that all the work, training and efforts are finally starting to show positive results.
In January 2016, Alberta Health Services began its Take-Home Naloxone Kit Program. According to the report, 195,460 naloxone kits were dispensed in the province, and 12,830 reversals were self-reported in the period from January 1, 2016 to September 30, 2019.
Naloxone saves lives and this staggering number of reversals proves that naloxone kit distribution is important to continue.
Currently, the funding for new supervised consumption sites in Alberta is on hold until a review into the existing sites is completed. The funding is up March 31.