Alberta is facing a substance use-related health crisis. Currently, more Albertans are dying each year from drug overdoses than at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We are losing people at a rate greater than one per day. These numbers are increasing each quarter, and based on the current trend, we expect an even higher number of deaths in 2017 than in 2016.
- In 2016, a total of 559 Albertans died from drug overdoses related to opioids:
- 363 of these deaths were attributed to either fentanyl or carfentanil
- 196 of these deaths were attributed to other opioids
- In the first quarter of 2017, 117 Albertans died from drug overdoses related to fentanyl or carfentanil (as compared to 70 people in the first quarter of 2016). We do not have data on the number of people who died from other opioid overdoses in the first quarter of 2017.
- Across 2016, the South zone (which includes Lethbridge) saw the highest rate of emergency department visits: approximately 24% higher than the provincial average.