Four opioid-related deaths in December 2020 pushed the yearly total to 33, the highest recorded number in Grande Prairie since opioid-related data collection began in 2016.
Overall, the city had a fatal opioid poisoning rate of 46.4 per 100,000 person-years, a jump from 34.4 in all of 2019 when there were 26 deaths reported.
Of the opioid-related deaths, 31 were from non-pharmaceutical opioids, while two were linked to pharmaceutical opioids. Non-pharmaceutical opioids are considered to be fentanyl and its related drugs, as well as heroin, while pharmaceuticals are typically prescribed opioids like codeine, hydromorphone, and methadone.
According to Alberta Health, EMS responded to 16 opioid-related events in December 2020, for a rate of 255 per 100,000 residents. An opioid-related event includes the administration of naloxone or the use of the opioid medical protocol.
Albertans struggling with addiction can contact the Addiction Helpline at 1-866-332-2322 for support, information, and referral to services. The toll-free, confidential helpline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.