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Alberta marks deadliest month for overdose deaths in April


More people died in Alberta of a toxic drug overdose in April than in any single month on record, according to the most recent government data.

According to Alberta's substance use surveillance system report on Monday, 179 people died in April of drug poisoning. Seventy-six of those deaths in April happened in Calgary.

The provincial total for the first four months of 2023 – the most up-to-date date the province has provided – is 613 deaths caused by toxic drug poisoning. That's up about six per cent compared to the same time last year.

Ninety-three per cent of the deaths in 2023 have been related to fentanyl.

"While we have made significant strides towards this vision over the past four years, it is clear more needs to be done to support treatment and recovery from addiction," said Dan Williams, Alberta's mental health and addictions minister.

In his statement, Williams pointed to a plan to build 11 new treatment locations in Alberta, including in First Nations communities.

During the provincial election campaign, Premier Danielle Smith pledged to pass a law that could force people with severe drug addiction into treatment.

"Danielle Smith’s approach to the drug poisoning crisis has killed thousands of Albertans,” said Lori Sigurdson, an Edmonton MLA with the opposition NDP.

Of the 613 deaths so far this year, 69 per cent of them have happened in males. The age group with the highest rate of drug overdoses in Alberta is 35 to 39.

"The most recent drug fatality data confirms why addressing drug use and illicit trafficking must be top of mind, and my heart goes out to all those who have lost a loved one," said Williams. Top Stories

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