MEDICINAS HAT, AB – "Opioid crisis" is one phrase most commonly heard by alberts several times a week.
However, many do not see what this concept really means and the number of lives that are taken.
Since January 1, 2016, 1,782 people have died from accidental opioid poisoning in Alberta.
According to Alberta Health, Medicine Hat has already exceeded the total number of fentanyl deaths last year.
"I think that what it shows is the Medical Hat compared to itself from previous years," says Dr. Deena Hinshaw, acting on behalf of Alberta's Health Chief Medical Officer. "This problem may even get a little worse."
In 2016, the Medical Hat had two deaths due to fentanyl. There were seven in 2017 and eight in 2018.
In fact, Albert's southern zone is located right behind Calgary, because the worst deaths were in the province.
In 2016 there were 13 deaths, in 2017 it was 27, and since September 30 there were already 37 deaths.
"Fentanyl is a lethal substance," says Inspector Brent Otiac, with the Medical Hat Police Service. "It can kill you for the first time after use, so it's definitely a question."
Despite the increase, the Medical Hat still fewer fentanyl deaths per inhabitant, compared with almost every major city in Alberta.
In addition, the Medical Hat has not lost the life of other opioids.
"I think that at the provincial level, we are still in a grand scale compared to Lethbridge and Grande Prairie," says Inspector Secondiak. "We are still in a better place than these two cities."
The population of Lettershire is about 100,000, and it has already experienced 22 deaths, and Grande Prairie has experienced a population of about 63,000 at 16.
Although the number of fatal overdoses increases. Hinshaw says that the speed at which they grow seems to be slowed down.
"I think it's one sign that we can perceive as quite encouraging," she said. "We do not see the continuous upward trend that we have seen in recent years."
Dr Hinshaw says that other communities may have slowed down in safe use.
There is no place for a medical hat and this is also visible on the plateau.
Inspector Secondiak says that it is likely to be the first response and the use of overloading naloxone, also called NARCAN.
"I hope this is because our first respondents are NARCAN," says Inspector Secondiak. "Our placement last year has grown significantly, so we save lives in the way our EMC staff are, our firefighters, and the police."
However, the potential plateau does not mean that the opioid crisis is over.
"Alberta still has nearly two deaths from opioid poisoning," says Hinshaw. "So, although the numbers seem flat, we have a lot to do."