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Grande Prairie now Alberta’s third worst city for fatal opioid overdoses

The number of fatal opioid overdoses in Grande Prairie this year quadrupled over the spring. Despite that, the city remains off the top of the list when it’s compared to other cities in Alberta.

Apparent accidental opioid poisoning deaths in Grande Prairie from January 1, 2016 to June 30, 2018 based on place of overdose, Alberta Health

Alberta Health says there were eight apparent accidental drug poisoning deaths related to fentanyl in the city from April to June 2018, on top of the three from January to March. That gives Grande Prairie a rate of 29.7 per 100,000 residents, putting it behind Lethbridge’s rate of 34.1 and Red Deer at 44.7. There was an additional death related to an opioid other than fentanyl.

Grande Prairie had the highest rate of fatal opioid overdoses in Alberta in 2017 , but dropped drastically in the first six months of 2018. The rate for fentanyl-related deaths was 36.4 per 100,000 residents, and 5.4 for other opioid-related deaths last year.

The HIV North Society of Grande Prairie calls the latest provincial opioid report “extremely saddening.” It notes it and its community partners handed out 915 naloxone kits from January 1, 2016 to June 30, 2018. A mobile supervised consumption site is expected to be operational by the end of the year.

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