Gateway Gazette

NDP Government Ineffective in Addressing Opioid and Mental Health Crisis: Smith

EDMONTON, AB: The NDP government is failing to effectively address Alberta’s opioid and mental health crisis and take action to assist suffering families in our province, the Wildrose Official Opposition said.

To date, the NDP government has not implemented the recommendations from the 2015 Auditor General to “use an action plan to implement the strategy for mental health and addictions.”

It was revealed on Tuesday at the Public Accounts Committee that the implementation plan outlined by the department has been to define deliverables, develop timelines for cross-ministry initiatives to support four populations and develop a performance measurement to address stakeholder input.

“Lives are potentially at risk while the Ministry of Health forms committees to talk about forming more committees; their response to the entire crisis is extremely weak,” Wildrose Shadow Seniors, Housing & Mental Health Minister Mark Smith said. “Albertans desperately need action on this file. Where are the real strategies to address Alberta’s ongoing opioid mental health crisis, and what is the Minister’s timeline?”

Six separate committees were formed including an executive committee, advisory committee, and four integration committees. One committee ballooned from 60 to 250 participants, with the latest meeting being cancelled, citing a need for “something that’s meaningful” to bring the participants together. Wildrose joined the medical community in urging the NDP government to declare Alberta’s opioid and mental health crisis a medical emergency, yet the NDP refuse to do so.

“Forming endless committees does not help suffering individuals and their families get the help they need,” Smith said “Albertans would like to know what tangible actions the minister will take to combat the mental health and addictions crisis and get the department of health to meet the recommendations of the Auditor General,”

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