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August 31, 2017

International Overdose Awareness Day provides opportunity for NDP to take real action on opioid crisis

On the occasion of International Overdose Awareness Day, United Conservative Party Mental Health Critic Mark Smith, and UCP MLA for Calgary-West Mike Ellis, a vocal advocate for action on the opioid crisis, are urging Associate Minister of Health Brandy Payne to start taking concrete and comprehensive action to address the opioid crisis.

In 2016, 368 died from opioid overdose. The most recent data available in 2017 shows that number continues to climb with 241 deaths in the first 6 months of the year.

“To date, this government’s response to the opioid crisis has been constricted to naloxone kits and harm reduction strategies,” said Smith. “These actions, while helpful for Albertans currently in crisis, do nothing to address the root causes of this epidemic and help those in the depths of addiction. It’s time for this Minister to begin acting with the urgency this crisis demands.”

There continues to be no explanation as to why the NDP refuse to call for a public health emergency related to the opioid crisis. Ellis says it’s clear that the NDP’s current actions simply aren’t enough.

“Alberta families that have lost loved ones to fentanyl and opioid overdoses are tired of empty words from this Minister and this government,” said Ellis. “I hope that Minister Payne takes this opportunity to truly listen to these families and recognize that there’s so much more she could be doing to curb overdose deaths in our province.”