We need Real Action on Drug Poisonings, not Another Sales Pitch

We need Real Action on Drug Poisonings, not Another Sales Pitch

EDMONTON This afternoon, the Minister of Mental Health and Addiction announced they are tabling Bill 17, a piece of legislation that establishes the Canadian Centre of Recovery Excellence (CoRE), an entity designed to be directly aligned with the goals and priorities of the Government of Alberta.

While today’s announcement purportedly reiterated the importance of data and evidence, in reality, this government’s track record shows a repeated refusal to follow the best evidence, and a continued unwillingness to make treatment data available to Albertans.

“The Premier and the Minister continue to tout the success of their so-called Alberta Recovery Model, yet still refuse calls to release any data or information that would validate their claims,” said Chris Gallaway, executive director of Friends of Medicare. “Now they’re setting up a brand-new government-controlled entity to do research designed to validate their approach and ideology. We don’t need another propaganda ‘war room’, Albertans need evidence-based solutions to the drug poisoning crisis.”

In 2023 Alberta saw our highest ever number of drug poisoning deaths. In response to record deaths, health care workers, advocates, and Albertans who are directly impacted by the ongoing drug toxicity crisis have been urging this government to put ideology aside and stop promoting this false dichotomy between treatment and harm reduction. It is glaringly clear that we need both: dead people can’t recover.

“We continue to see record deaths due to drug poisonings, and increased pressures on our health care system due to this ongoing crisis, rather than acknowledge this tragic loss of life, the government continues to be focused on cherry-picking facts to sell their agenda” said Gallaway. “Every single one of Alberta’s drug poisoning deaths represents a policy failure. It’s time Alberta changes course. We must ensure that these health care services are being publicly delivered, with the full transparency and accountability that Albertans and their families deserve.

Friends of Medicare remains concerned that the government’s recent announcement of a new entity for mental health and addictions, along with the creation of CoRE, will continue to siphon our public health care dollars towards under-regulated, for-profit providers, and proliferate this government’s aggressive privatization agenda in our health care.

Addictions care is health care, full stop. Albertans need to know that their mental health and addictions services are being delivered as part of our public health care system, not contracted out to the lowest bidder, based on government funded research” concluded Gallaway.

Friends of Medicare continues to urge Albertans to send an email to the Premier, the Minister and their MLA in support of a full spectrum of mental health and addiction care services, including harm reduction.



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