Mental Health and Addictions' Mandate Letter continues failed approach to drug poisoning crisis

Mental Health and Addictions' Mandate Letter continues failed approach to drug poisoning crisis

Latest EMS call out data and record overdose numbers show Alberta’s approach to the drug poisoning crisis is failing

EDMONTON - This afternoon, Premier Smith released her Mandate Letter to Alberta’s Mental Health and Addictions Minister, Dan Williams. The letter continues to push the government’s so-called “recovery-oriented system of care” while ignoring harm reduction programs, even as a record number of Albertans are dying.

“Right now in Alberta, six people are dying by drug poisoning every single day. To see this government continue to tout their failed approach while so many people in our communities continue to suffer just adds insult to injury,” said Chris Gallaway, executive director of Friends of Medicare.We need a government that can recognize that there is no recovery if you are dead.

“This is an unmitigated crisis and we need the new Minister to start treating it like one,” continued Gallaway. “It’s time to acknowledge the failure of the ‘Alberta Recovery Model’ for what it is, and take the urgently-needed action to prevent further tragedy.”

This crisis continues to impact our whole public health care system, with added pressure on our EMS and hospital systems especially. This month, EMS has seen record calls to respond to overdose-related events and frontline service providers are seeing a spike in drug poisonings, each of which could have been avoided if we had the necessary evidence-based community and harm reduction supports.

“This crisis is adding substantial pressure to our entire public health care system while it’s already struggling. It’s time for this government to start actually listening to front-line organizations and health care workers, and to respond to this crisis with an evidence-based public health approach,” concluded Gallaway. 

Friends of Medicare continues to encourage Albertans to support our calls for urgent action to save lives in the drug poisoning crisis.


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