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Drug overdoses in Alberta are on the rise, say frontline healthcare workers


Drug overdoses in Alberta are on the rise, say frontline healthcare workers


























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Last updated March 17, 2022 at 3:36 p.m. MDT


FILE – A naloxone overdose kit is displayed in Vancouver, Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

Frontline healthcare workers say drug overdoses are increasing in Alberta.

They say fatal and non-fatal overdoses are increasing in homeless shelters, drug treatment centers and on city streets.

Studies suggest that between 40 and 60% of people who leave these settings return to drug use.

Doctor Bonnie Larson, who works with vulnerable people, says people are at great risk after undergoing hospital treatment.

She says a toxic drug supply, changes in social supports, decreased tolerance and pressures to abstain from substance use also increase the likelihood of injury or death.


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Addiction specialist Dr Monty Ghosh says most treatment agencies now offer opioid agonist therapy to reduce risk.

Data from Alberta shows overdose deaths have reached record highs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nothing indicates that the trend will change.

Calgary Outreach Nurse Rachael Edwards says the crisis has also worsened for people sleeping rough or in shelters.

Edwards says she has responded to more overdoses recently than in her entire 14-year career.

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