Liberal MLA David Swann said he agreed with the direction to expand access to treatment within primary care system, but said he would like to see more emphasis on early intervention and prevention.
Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann released the following statement in reaction to the government’s announcement on supervised injection sites in Calgary today:
“Calgary is the city that has been hardest-hit by Alberta’s opioid crisis. As such, harm reduction measures like safe consumption sites is welcome news. And, certainly, the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre is an excellent choice for this important work.
“Finally, we are seeing this critical service that is long overdue. These sites will undoubtedly improve safety and save lives.”
“However, one is not enough, we need more of these harm reduction and treatment measures in Calgary and throughout the province, especially in smaller urban centres.
“We also need more culturally appropriate services since Indigenous peoples are a significantly impacted community.
“When nearly two lives are lost each day to this scourge, there is a clear need to move more quickly and effectively.
“We need to increase and integrate more resources if we hope to get ahead of this crisis.”
Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann released the following statement in reaction to the approval of supervised consumption sites in Edmonton and Lethbridge:
“These approvals are welcome news. I have long called for harm-reduction measures to be implemented in this province as a key component of a coordinated plan to manage the steadily worsening opioid crisis.
“However, the continued delays are deeply disappointing. I find myself asking: if federal approval was the only hold-up for a supervised consumption site, why the months-long gap between the site being approved and opening its doors?
“The lack of sites for Calgary, where opioid overdoses continue to claim the most lives, is troubling. As I’ve said before, access to harm reduction measures must be further expanded. While I’m glad to see a site opening in Lethbridge, other smaller urban centres and rural areas, where wait times are still too long and mental health care much less available, are badly in need of these facilities.”
Alberta Liberal MLA and health critic Dr. David Swann said the approved sites are welcome news, but questioned ‘continued delays’ in the application process.
Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann said the fentanyl issue needs to be treated more like an emergency to utilize out-of-province resources and expressed alarm over the wait for the Sheldon Chumir site’s opening.
Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann released the following statement on the expansion of Alberta’s opioid dependency treatment programs:
“$4.6 million in additional resources to combat the opioid crisis is undoubtedly welcome news. I am pleased to see that Edmonton and Calgary centres will receive more support, enabling them to reduce wait times for in-patient and outpatient treatment as part of the larger solution.
“However, access to harm reduction measures needs to be further expanded, particularly in smaller urban centres and rural areas where wait times are still too long and mental health care much less available.
“As I have said many times following each of these one-off announcements, this is an emergency situation requiring an evidence-based, co-ordinated and comprehensive public strategy – not a reactive, piecemeal approach.
“The government is failing to make significant headway in reducing the overall number of overdoses, which continues to rise each quarter. Combined with delays in supervised consumption sites, Alberta is clearly not drawing on all needed resources and treating this matter with the urgency and importance it deserves.
“Opioid addiction and abuse is quite literally a matter of life and death, yet the government habitually releases reports and makes announcements on the opioid crisis with barely any notice, and at times when they will receive the least amount of public attention.
“For example, conducting these activities just prior to a holiday weekend sends the wrong message to Albertan and belies the severity, urgency, and importance of the opioid crisis.
“As one of the most important issues facing Alberta and Canada today, we need to be very conscious and cautious about even the appearance of playing politics with people’s lives.
“Whether it comes to addressing concerns over the location of treatment clinics, federal approval for supervised consumption sites, or involving all stakeholders in developing and implementing solutions, we must remember that we are all on the same team. The goal is to save lives, not score political points.”
One of the most vocal advocates on the issue, Alberta MLA Dr. David Swann called the funding a good step, but remains frustrated at delay with the site.
“We need to pull out all the stops to address this and save lives. This is a long term issue that we must make a higher priority in our general society and certainly our health system,” Swann, MLA for Calgary-Mountain View, told Metro.
“Today I join far too many Albertans in mourning those whose lives were cut short by drug overdoses, specifically fentanyl.
“With the skyrocketing pace of overdose deaths due to the ongoing opioid crisis, it is easy to get caught up in the numbers and lose track of the real cost in life and suffering.
“People struggling with addictions are not just junkies – each one is someone’s sibling, someone’s friend, someone’s child. Every death plunges a community into grief.
“On this day we remember those who have died of drug overdose not as statistics, not as addicts, but as fellow humans. We must work in their memory to break the stigma surrounding this disease, and make sure that those struggling with addiction in the future have the help they need.
“Of course, the single greatest way to raise overdose awareness would be for the NDP government to declare a state of emergency in response to the opioid crisis – something it has refused to do despite repeated calls from the opposition and stakeholders such as Moms Stop the Harm and Changing the Face of Addiction.
“Declaring a state of emergency would send a signal to every Albertan about the seriousness of the issue itself and the government’s commitment to putting all resources at its disposal to stop the needless deaths of so many of our friends and family.”
Liberal MLA Doctor David Swann is questioning why it’s taking so long for safe drug-injection site proposals to be reviewed.
Swann has repeatedly called on the province to declare a state of emergency over the opioid crisis and he says it’s time action was taken.