Pubdate: Fri, 18 Aug 2017
Source: Calgary Sun, The (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 The Calgary Sun
Page: 14


One a day. That's the death toll fentanyl or its opioid derivatives
are taking in Alberta each day.

It's a startling fact. And the problems are mounting, with officials
saying that death rate is already moving towards two per day.

So when the province announces $1.2 million to help establish a
supervised drug consumption site at the Sheldon M. Chumir Health
Centre, we should all encourage government action.

The debate around safe drug sites is well known. Whether it should be
done is for health and law enforcement professionals to hash out. We
need to trust the experts to come to the right answer.

What we do know is that the latest quarterly drug deaths report
clearly reaffirms the need to do something drastic.

Alberta saw 241 deaths from fentanyl alone in the first six months of
this year. That's a 54% increase over last year, when the alarm bells
were first being sounded.

Calgary has the dubious honour of leading the fentanyl death pack,
with a 13.1 per 100,000 death rate. The provincial average is 11.3.

The province applied to the federal government in May for approval for
a so-called safe drug site. Basically, this would be a place where
users can access sterile equipment and where safe drug practices are

Also, staff members would be on hand to deal with potential overdoses,
and get users the help they require.

It isn't a done deal that this consumption site will happen - the feds
hold the cards. The Chumir health centre would be a good choice due
its central location, and given the higher than average number of
opioid overdoses that occur in Calgary Centre, as well as Calgary East
and neighbourhoods around Nose Hill.

To be honest, we have never loved the idea of making drug use easier.
It is somewhat counterintuitive to building a great society.

However, the fentanyl drug death situation calls for drastic

And we would encourage governments at all levels to pay urgent
attention to this country's fentanyl crisis, and take the appropriate
measures needed to help deal with the burgeoning problem.
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