April 19th, 2024

Opioid deaths down here since August

By Lethbridge Herald on February 10, 2021.

Herald file photo - Drug paraphernalia is seen on a city street in this file photo.

Dale Woodard
Lethbridge Herald
The number of opioid deaths per month in the municipality of Lethbridge has decreased since August with zero deaths in November, but the Government of Alberta is stressing with the cold winter weather and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic those numbers can rise again.
According to the Alberta Substance Use Surveillance System — launched in late-December — Lethbridge and area had the highest rate of opioid deaths in Alberta with 44.1 per 100,000 person years by year.
However, monthly opioid deaths have declined in the area from seven in August to two in September, three in October and none in the month of November.
Still, Associate Minister Jason Luan noted those monthly numbers can change in a hurry.
“Lethbridge has experienced a high rate of opioid overdose fatalities,” said Luan in a release.
“These numbers can fluctuate dramatically from month to month. However, I’m pleased to see that the city had zero opioid-related fatalities in November. This is a testament to the hard work and support being provided by the frontline staff in the community. Unfortunately, due to cold weather and public health restrictions we may see an upward trend.
“It’s important that we never lose sight of the fact that there are people behind these numbers. Our government is committed to providing well run addiction services that lead to community wellness and recovery.”
Red Deer was right behind Lethbridge in opioid deaths per 100,000 people at 43.4, while Grande Prairie was at 40.5.
Edmonton was at 36.3 per 100,000, followed by Calgary (26.8), Fort McMurray (19.2) and Medicine Hat (15.8).
Rates for 2020 were calcualted using nine months of person time (January to November 2020).
The link for the Alberta Substance Use Surveillance System can be viewed at http://www.alberta.ca/substance-use-surveillance-data.aspx.
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Good to see the Herald post a positive headline. Other online missives declared Lethbridge the highest in the province.

Dennis Bremner

The biggest problem the “Gotta Save Lives” Group has, is now there is statistical data indicating X lives lost, while XXXX saved when running a multi-million dollar SCS and THE comparative data of no multi-million dollar SCS and numbers of lives lost. Strangely, the only difference between the two situations is the word “multi-million dollar SCS”