Posted on Jun 11, 2021


EDMONTON - Lori Sigurdson, Alberta NDP Critic for Mental Health and Addictions, is proposing an Emergency Action Plan to protect Albertans from the increasingly deadly overdose crisis.

“When more than four Albertans are killed by overdose every single day, how can we not do everything in our power to prevent more deaths?” Sigurdson said. “Albertans are dying and the government must put aside its prejudice, look at the evidence, and take action to save lives.” 

Alberta had 1,328 overdose deaths in 2020. Provincial data shows that the first three months of 2021 have been deadlier than the same period in every year on record.

“This is a province-wide problem that demands a province-wide response,” said MLA for Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood Janis Irwin. “Too many deaths are taking place in Alberta communities and enough is enough. There is no more time for inaction.”

The policies the NDP are proposing are:

  1. The province must expand Supervised Consumption Services across the province and immediately stop closing current SCS sites.
  2. The province must start providing safe, legal and regulated pharmaceutical alternatives for Albertans who use highly toxic street drugs.
  3. The province must introduce drug testing to help Albertans who use substances determine if their drugs are lethally toxic.

Naomi Johnson’s father Clifford Mitchell tragically passed away in Kinistinâw Park in Edmonton on May 21 along with two other men, Jason and Michael. 

“Three people died simultaneously in the middle of a public park in downtown Edmonton. This indicates a massive problem which requires immediate and bold action,” said Johnson. “Substance use and mental health disorders do not discriminate when claiming their victims. It can happen to anyone regardless of age, race, gender, religious affiliation or socioeconomic class.” 

Dr. Bonnie Larson is a physician based in Calgary and an assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Calgary. 

“As an addictions physician, I do take issue with closing, threatening to close, and destabilizing effective and money-saving harm reduction services only to please voters,” said Dr. Larson. “My objections here are not for political or partisan gain, but because I’m a doctor who made a pledge and I am tired of seeing my patients suffer and die disproportionately and preventably.”

Lorna Thomas is a founder of Moms Stop the Harm, which is a network of families impacted by substance related harm and death. 

“Every day I receive messages from bereaved parents. Families are losing their children, their fathers, their siblings due to a toxic drug supply. Many of these deaths are preventable”, said Thomas. “I don’t believe that people who use drugs must either stop using or die.”