August 16, 2017 6:45 pm

241 fentanyl-related deaths in Alberta in first half of 2017

Fentanyl pills are shown in an undated police handout photo.

Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT)
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Alberta continues to see high numbers of overdose deaths related to fentanyl and other opioids.

A second-quarter report for 2017 shows that 119 people died from an apparent fentanyl-related overdose between April 1 and June 30.

READ MORE: Police call historic fentanyl seizure in Edmonton ‘complex’ and ‘innovative’

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The report says 122 people died in the first three months of the year from an apparent fentanyl overdose.

Another 33 people died during that time from an apparent drug overdose of an opioid other than fentanyl.

READ MORE: 113 fentanyl-related deaths in Alberta in first 3 months of 2017

The province says it will provide $1.2 million for renovations at Calgary’s Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre, which is a proposed site for supervised opioid consumption.

Health Canada is currently reviewing several safe consumption sites proposed by the province for Calgary, Edmonton and Lethbridge.

“Harm-reduction programs like supervised consumption services are an important strategy to help people using street drugs do so in a safer environment where overdoses can be prevented,” Associate Health Minister Brandy Payne said in a release Wednesday.

READ MORE: Supervised opioid consumption site planned for Calgary, 4 applications in Edmonton

Liberal MLA David Swann, a doctor who has repeatedly called on the province to declare a state of emergency over the opioid crisis, questioned why it is taking so long for the site proposals to be reviewed.

“As we approach two deaths per day, we still must wait months for federal approval of safe consumption sites,” he said in a release. “I keep asking: what is the holdup here? This is supposed to be a national emergency.

“It is time for our provincial and federal governments to treat it as such.”

READ MORE: Fentanyl crisis growing in Alberta prisons, exposing guards: ‘It’s very scary’

The City of Edmonton is expected to release an update on its plan for supervised consumption sites on Thursday.

Watch below: Ongoing Global News coverage of the opioid crisis in Alberta

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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