The realities of Alberta’s ongoing opioid crisis will soon be harder to miss for many Albertans.
In an attempt to reduce the stigma, as well as bring awareness about available supports, Alberta Health Services (AHS) launched a province-wide campaign Monday that will include advertisements on radio, trains and in the places people eat and drink.
Commuters in Edmonton and Calgary will see wraps on trains and people across the province will hear information on the radio as well as see posters in restaurants, bars and on post-secondary school campuses.
“We’re targeting this crisis by increasing access to opioid dependency treatment, naloxone kits and supervised consumption services,” associate health minister Brandy Payne said in a release.
“This awareness campaign lets Albertans know about the things they can do to save lives.”
The opioid crisis in Alberta continues to worsen, with provincial numbers released in November showing a 40 per cent increase in opioid-related deaths.
Cities are already stepping up their fight against the crisis, with Calgary recently opening a permanent supervised consumption site, replacing a temporary one that was set up last fall.
WATCH: Health officials believe a permanent supervised consumption site will be one more tool in their fight against Alberta’s opioid crisis. Joel Senick explains how this new space expands on a temporary site that opened last fall.
Supervised consumption sites were also approved for Edmonton and Lethbridge in late 2017.
“This campaign will encourage Albertans to learn about naloxone, rescue breathing and other harm reduction measures, preparing them to support friends and family who use drugs,” Kathryn Todd with AHS said in a release.
AHS said more than 41,000 naloxone kits have been distributed across the province and more than 2,400 overdose reversals have been reported between summer of 2015 and December 2017. Those reversals don’t count the ones done by first responders, AHS said.
Naloxone was made an “unscheduled” drug in Alberta in February 2017, which means anyone can pick up a kit without a prescription.
The new campaign will run until March.