A group of Edmonton physicians say the Alberta government’s review of harm reduction supports for people who use drugs is unnecessarily depleting acute care resources as COVID-19 demands mount.
Edmonton Doctors Form Opioid Response Committee to Address Overdose Spikes
Members of the Edmonton Area Medical Staff Association’s opioid poisoning committee have written a letter to Prime Minister Jason Kenney, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and other health and addiction officials.
It calls for emergency action to address the drug poisoning crisis.
The association says communities do not have adequate resources to respond to spike drug overdoses, so people facing adverse reactions need the help of first responders, emergency departments and intensive care units more often. .
Edmonton opioid crisis: daily deaths, overdoses overwhelming social services and the health care system
Under Kenney’s leadership, the province has limited access to a life-saving opioid dependence program and supervised drug use sites.
The group recommends two emergency actions: expanding access to injectable opioid agonist treatment programs and strengthening supervised use and overdose prevention services.
Edmonton Opioid Crisis: The Impact on People and the Healthcare System
More than 145 individuals and 18 organizations from across Canada, including the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, Moms Stop the Harm, and Protect Our Province Alberta, have signed the letter of support.
“We know that Alberta’s current approach to the drug poisoning crisis unnecessarily strains acute care resources and is directly contributing to a growing number of deaths,” the letter says.
“In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the emergency policy actions mentioned above save lives not only for people who use drugs, but for all Albertans in need of intensive care.”
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