February 1, 2019 7:40 pm
Updated: February 1, 2019 7:41 pm

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
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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.

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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.

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.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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