The accidental opioid overdose rate, year to date, has dropped in Grande Prairie to the lowest number seen since 2016.
According to the recently released Q2 COVID-19 Opioid Response Surveillance Report, 10 people, or 26.5 per 100,000 person-years fell victim to accidental opioid poisoning.
The previous four years, according to Alberta Health, saw Grande Prairie set rates of 13.5 per 100,000 in 2016, 36.4 in 2017, 31.0 in 2018, and 32.2 last year. Province-wide, 301 people died between April and June as a result of an opioid overdose.
The government says before the pandemic, efforts to reduce opioid-related overdoses had been having a positive impact with an 11.8 percent decrease in the number of unintentional opioid deaths in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
“As we move forward, it is more important than ever to continue to ensure every Albertan who needs it can find help and be supported on their path to long-term recovery,” says Associate Minister for Mental Health and Addictions Jason Luan.
Earlier this year, the City of Grande Prairie signed on as the representative plaintiff in a $10 billion class-action lawsuit against more than 40 pharmaceutical companies. The lawsuit is looking for compensation for their perceived role in the harm caused to communities and the resource strain placed on municipalities responding to the opioid crisis.