Alberta sets record 904 opioid deaths to date in 2020, cites COVID-19 as factor

EDMONTON — Alberta is reporting 904 opioid-related deaths in the first 10 months of 2020, a sobering record surpassing the province’s current death count of COVID-19.

Premier Jason Kenney says the novel coronavirus has had an impact on those opioid numbers, reducing access to in-person treatment programs along with reports some people used federal COVID-19 income supports to purchase drugs.

Opioid deaths peaked at 806 in 2018 but had been begun falling prior to 2020.

The opioid-death statistics this year are calculated up to the end of October.

The province says there have been 790 deaths so far this year linked to COVID-19.

The Opposition NDP says Kenney’s United Conservative government has contributed to the rise in deaths, including closing a safe consumption site in Lethbridge earlier this year.

(The Canadian Press)

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