EDMONTON, AB: The decision by the NDP government to release updated information about opioid overdoses on the Friday before a long weekend without a news release or conference demonstrates a lack of understanding about how important public awareness of the ongoing crisis is, the Wildrose Official Opposition said.
The first quarter statistics released on Friday show that there has been a 61 per cent increase in first quarter overdose deaths year over year from 2016 to 2017.
“It’s incredibly disappointing to see the ongoing mishandling by the NDP government of the opioid crisis in our province while Albertans die at a rate of more than one per day,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said. “While the federal Health Minister has called this the biggest overdose epidemic in our country’s history and an unprecedented public health crisis, the NDP government is dragging its feet to find multi-faceted solutions to an ever-growing problem.”
The NDP government continually refuses to implement a public health emergency as has been done in British Columbia, which would allow for greater information sharing and public reporting of data.
“The opioid epidemic deserves the full attention of the NDP government, including a greater understanding of the complex psycho-social causes of this crisis,” Wildrose Shadow Mental Health Minister Mark Smith said. “We need to call a public health emergency, and we need a commitment that the NDP government will develop an action plan to address the mental health and addictions crisis Albertans are fighting.”