Alberta Health report suggests number of fentanyl overdose deaths still high

Fentanyl is seen in pill-form in this undated file photo from police in Alberta. Alberta Law Enforcement Response / File

A new report by Alberta Health has found that fentanyl use continues to be a critical issue in the province.

The report shows 158 people died from apparent accidental fentanyl-related opioid overdoses during the first three months of 2018.

Eighty-eight per cent of the deaths happened in larger municipalities such as Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer and Fort McMurray.

READ MORE: Report suggests Albertans continue to die in large numbers from fentanyl use

The Calgary zone had the most fentanyl deaths at 75, while Edmonton had the second highest number of deaths at 46 from Jan. 1 to March 31.

In Edmonton, 76 per cent of the deaths happened in Eastwood during the three-month period, while 76 per cent of the deaths in Calgary happened in Calgary Centre.

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READ MORE: Opioid-related deaths continue to soar in Alberta, up 40% over last year

During the first quarter of 2018, there were 46 apparent accidental poisoning deaths related to carfentanil in the province, compared to 72 of these types of deaths in the fourth quarter of 2017.

In 2017, data shows 733 Albertans died from the same cause, with 183 losing their lives during the final three months of last year. That’s an average of two people dying every day in Alberta because of apparent accidental opioid overdoses.

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