Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA Dr David Swann issue release renewing call for Alberta Government to declare Public Health Emergency for Opioid Crisis:
The NDP Government should be ashamed. Alberta health officials declined to participate in a major national opioid study that examined the demographics of overdose victims earlier this year. This underlines the Alberta Government’s failure to deal fully and effectively with this critical issue which is killing two Albertans a day – every day.
Dr Swann stated, “I demanded in September 2016 that the NDP Government declare the opioid crisis a Public Health Emergency. That was more than 2 years ago. Hundreds of Albertans have died from fatal opioid overdoses since then. What is this Government waiting for?
“Alberta continues to play “catch-up” due to a lack of deeper understanding about this issue. Addiction and the connection to mental illness along with the interaction of social and economic conditions must be studied to provide effective prevention and treatment services.”
The Public Health Agency of Canada says Alberta health officials claimed they did not have the resources to participate in the Federal study. Alberta did not have any coroners or medical examiners who could have been spared to provide data for the study. Newfoundland, Labrador and P.E.I. were the other provinces that did not participate. They have a combined total population equal to about half the size of Calgary.
David Khan stated, “The opioid crisis has taken a heavy toll on Albertans. We have the second highest per capita death rate among provinces. How can we not have the resources to participate in this important study that could help save Alberta lives? Alberta’s Medical Examiners Office has been a revolving door of staff due to the working environment and mismanagement. NDP Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley’s response to this situation has clearly been insufficient. The NDP Government has to step up and fix the problems.”
Alberta has said it will conduct its own opioid study. That will be released sometime in 2019.
Albertans can’t wait. Too many people are dying from the opioid crisis in this province. Alberta Liberals are pushing the NDP Government to act now and declare a Public Health Emergency.