13 Albertans died every week of apparent fentanyl overdoses in 2018: Alberta Health

Fake Oxycontin pills containing fentanyl are displayed during a news conference at RCMP headquarters in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, September 3, 2015. Darryl Dyck, The Canadian Press

The number of people dying of fentanyl-related overdoses continues to rise in Alberta, according to a new report released Friday.

Between Jan. 1 and Nov. 11, 2018, 582 Albertans died of fentanyl-related overdoses, according to Alberta Health. That’s compared to 463 people who died during the same time frame in 2017.

That means, on average, 13 people died of fentanyl-related overdoses every week in 2018. In 2017, an average of 11 people died of fentanyl poisonings per week in Alberta.

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Of the 582 deaths, Alberta Health said 149 were related to carfentanil — a synthetic opioid 100 times more toxic than fentanyl and 5,000 times more potent than heroin. That’s a spike from 116 carfentanil-related deaths during the same time frame in 2017.

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When looking at figures for the entire year in 2017, there were a total of 583 deaths related to fentanyl overdoses and 368 the year before that.

The government says it has been formally responding to the increase in opioid-related deaths since March 2015.

Watch below: Global News’ investigative series looking at the link between fentanyl and organized crime operating in B.C.

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