Calgary Herald: Let David Swann lead Alberta’s fentanyl fight

The premier should immediately draft Calgary MLA David Swann to fill the vacant health minister seat in provincial cabinet.

Oh, you hadn’t heard we had such a vacancy? Well, we certainly seem to, given that the deadliest public health disaster this province has faced in living memory is being left in the hands of the department’s junior minister.

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Government response to opioid crisis falls short: Swann

Calgary, AB (February 7, 2017): Alberta Liberal Leader, Dr. David Swann, says the NDP government’s response to the opioid crisis falls short of what is necessary, and renews his call for more information and coordinated action.

“Government information and action continue to be inadequate despite these new measures,” says Swann. “We are lacking timely information and are dealing with this in a piecemeal fashion when what is needed is a coordinated and comprehensive approach.”

Swann has been pressuring the government to release more data surrounding the overall impact of this crisis since last fall, when he called on the province to declare a public health state of emergency.

“Quarterly reporting on deaths resulting from overdoses is not sufficient,” says Swann. “We need a comprehensive look at the financial and human costs of the current approach on our emergency, medical, social and justice systems.”

While Swann applauds the government’s willingness to enhance treatment options in the critical stages of opioid abuse, he stresses more government leadership is required to improve communication and coordinate action.

“The NDP government has not put enough priority or urgency on this issue,” says Swann. “In addition to naloxone, it must ensure greater cooperation, more information sharing, and a better understanding of what is and what is not working.”


Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann calls for a public fatality inquiry into drug-related deaths in correctional facilities

Calgary, AB (January 23, 2017): 

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann wrote today to the Fatality Review Board to recommend that a public fatality inquiry be held regarding all deaths involving controlled substances in Alberta correctional facilities since January 1, 2012.

In the letter, Swann argues that an inquiry is urgently needed to identify present shortcomings and emerging best practices regarding preventing contraband from entering the province’s jails and remand centres; this issue has become considerably worse with the current opioid crisis, and puts inmates and staff at risk.

He also recommends that any inquiry should include a review of the staff training in mental health and addictions and medical resources available to incarcerated persons given their critical importance in reducing the demand for illegal drugs and, ultimately, death prevention.
Swann has also written to the Office of the Ombudsman to request an administrative review of the circumstances surrounding drug-related “near-deaths” in correctional facilities, since the Fatality Review Board has no mandate to investigate such cases.

A copy of Swann’s letter to the Fatality Review Board can be found here.


Calgary Herald: Nenshi expects to see fentanyl crisis on agenda of mayors meeting

…Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann said he would like to see the kits distributed more widely among patrol officers.

“It certainly seems like it should be a standard procedure, as it is for EMS workers and all those who are dealing with people on the street and people in difficult psychological and physical circumstances,” Swann said….

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