A new study shows Albertans continue to die from opioid overdoses at a staggering rate.
The Alberta Health report 355 people died in Alberta from an apparent accidental opioid overdose during the first half of 2018, an average of two people per day. That’s an increase from the first two quarters of the previous year when 322 people lost their lives from the same cause.
The report shows 160 people died from apparent opioid overdoses during the second quarter of 2018 (April 1 to June 30). Eighty-six per cent of those deaths happened in Alberta’s largest municipalities: Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer, Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat.
The Calgary zone had the highest number of fentanyl deaths during that period at 83, followed by the Edmonton zone at 35.
In Edmonton, the Eastwood neighbourhood has had the most deaths in the city at 20 so far this year. In Calgary, the community of Centre had the most apparent accidental opioid poisoning deaths in the city at 29.
The Calgary zone had 83 apparent accidental poisoning deaths related to fentanyl during the second quarter of 2018, while the Edmonton zone had 35 deaths.
Between Jan. 1, 2016 and and the first quarter of 2018, there were 1,456 apparent accidental opioid poisoning deaths related to any opioid.
During the same period, a total of 1,247 individuals in Alberta died from an apparent accidental drug poisoning related to fentanyl: 348 in 2016, 569 in 2017 and 330 during the first two quarters of 2018.
Additionally, among all drug and alcohol poisoning in 2017 and 2018, opioids were directly involved in 78 per cent of deaths, the report suggests.