Pubdate: Fri, 18 Aug 2017
Source: Edmonton Sun (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 Canoe Limited Partnership.
Page: 16


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.

This is the kind of tragedy that spurred the province to offer up cash
to help establish safe drug consumption sites in the inner-city.

While it is but one piece of the fight against opioids, it's an
important one.

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.

While Calgary has the dubious honour of leading the fentanyl death
pack, with a 13.1 per 100,000 death rate, Edmonton sits at 11.7. The
provincial average is 11.3.

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

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. And while the neighbours of the proposed sites have
concerns about centrally locating these facilities, they are needed.

To be honest, we have never loved the idea of making drug use

It is somewhat counterintuitive to building a great

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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