Albertans are Still Dying for Access

Albertans are Still Dying for Access

EDMONTON -- Albertans who use drugs and their allies will be holding the second Dying for Access event at 12:00 PM today, November 29, 2022, at the Alberta Legislature Grounds. 

Coinciding with the re-opening of the Alberta Legislature, this rally is a call for the government to take urgent action on the ongoing drug poisoning crisis that continues to kill more Albertans aged 25 to 39 than any other cause of death. 

To highlight the need to prevent harm and death that comes from toxic street drugs Albertans for Ethical Drug Policy will be handing out an example of a safe regulated supply at the rally and provide a sample to all MLAs.

"Providing a safe supply to people who use would not only reduce deaths and improve future health outcomes it allows substantial healing for our loved ones and the community. rebuilding relationships with family and healthcare providers opening the door to healing  all while stopping the cycle of continuous trauma, stigma and shame."

Angie Staines, 4B Harm Reduction Society

"Our peer bereavement and grief support groups are growing while politicians falsely claim that drug poisoning deaths in Alberta are on the decline, they are not and this year is on target to be as bad as the last. Saving the lives of the people we love, saving money and reducing strain on our health system should not be partisan. What we call for are evidence based public health measures. Failure to act now will mean our families will arrange more funerals." 

Petra Schulz, Moms Stop The Harm

"At a moment when businesses and communities are struggling from the ripple effects of increasing drug supply toxicity, safer supply and harm reduction services are the most common-sense policies to manage the immediate crises. We are looking for solutions, not feel-good political hand-waving: re-open access to help people steer clear of the street drug supply."

Euan Thomson, EACH+EVERY: Businesses for Harm Reduction

"The government’s ideological push for a recovery-only approach to this crisis is continuing to fail us. Albertans are continuing to die in alarming numbers, yet we know that each of these overdose deaths were avoidable with proper community supports. In the face of such tragedy, it has become all the more urgent that Alberta must act decisively to save lives, by supporting evidence-based harm reduction efforts like supervised consumption services, safe supply and by moving forward with decriminalization."

Chris Gallaway, Friends of Medicare

To address the ongoing crisis, we call on the Government of Alberta to 

  • Rescind the Opioid Transition Services (NTS) program and restore the legal mandate of physicians and their governing body to determine guidelines for prescribing. 
  • Replace the NTS with evidence-informed access to regulated substances in models co-designed by people who use drugs. 
  • Expand supervised consumption services, including those promised in Edmonton and Calgary, and reopen closed sites.
  • Offer rapid, barrier-free access to medical detox and evidence-based treatment.
  • Provide data on the effectiveness and safety of substance use treatment programs regarding access to treatment, regulation of treatment, critical incidents and performance evaluation.

Drug poisonings kill more Albertans aged 25 to 39 than any other cause of death, and the Alberta Government’s barriers to evidence-based services such as supervised consumption, regulated substances and patient-centred treatment will keep it that way.  In a letter dated November 17, we asked the Honourable Nicholas Milliken for a meeting, but we have yet to receive a reply. 

Read the joint statement from Albertans for Ethical Drug Policy.

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