Posted on Mar 23, 2021
ALBERTA SETS GRIM RECORD FOR PREVENTABLE OVERDOSE DEATHS, AS LUAN BELATEDLY REVERSES DEADLY MISTAKE
EDMONTON - Almost 1,300 Albertans died of a preventable overdose in 2020 in a huge increase from 2019.
Associate Minister Jason Luan announced the fatality numbers while announcing plans for an overdose prevention app. Luan personally cancelled a similar program developed by AHS that was ready for launch in June of 2020, during one of the deadliest periods of the year.
“Associate Minister Jason Luan, with no medical training, politically interfered in a clinical program that would have saved lives,” said Lori Sigurdson, NDP Critic for Mental Health and Addiction. “I am devastated by how many Albertans have died over the past year, and by how many Albertans died alone over the past nine months while this UCP government withheld medical help from them.
“And I am appalled that this program announced today will not be ready until the summer, and even then, only in Calgary.”
British Columbia has operated an overdose prevention app called Lifeguard in May of 2020.
“Telephone-based supervised consumption services are harm reduction programs,” said Sigurdson. “I am glad the UCP is coming around to something that the rest of the world has known for decades, which is that harm reduction saves lives and gives people a chance to make different choices.
“I call on Jason Luan to activate this app program immediately and immediately expand access to in-person supervised consumption services to stop more preventable loss of life in Alberta,” Sigurdson said.