Fentanyl accounts for two-thirds of 2021 confirmed overdose deaths in Sask.: coroner

There have been 132 confirmed drug toxicity deaths in Saskatchewan as of Oct. 4, 2021, according to the Saskatchewan Coroners Service.

Another 171 deaths are suspected to involve drugs, but have not yet been confirmed. Fentanyl was involved in 89 of the confirmed deaths.

“Really when it comes to fentanyl overdoses, seconds count,” Sgt. Burton Jones, a Detachment Commander with the Yorkton RCMP, said. “It is 100 times more powerful than morphine.”

Richard Fiddler experienced first-hand how devastating opioids can be after losing his daughter to an addiction last year.

With the number of overdose deaths in the province on the rise, he wants people to know help is available.

“I think it’s a world wide problem, the opioid crisis has gotten out of hand,” Richard Fiddler, a grade 6 teacher at Keeseekoose Education Centre, said. “It’s peer pressure, its choice, help is available.”

Richards’s wife Theresa used to teach addiction courses in Yorkton and she says education on drug use is vital to prevent it.

“It’s very, very key for people to come there and get some education about what is going on in their life,’ said Theresa Desnomie-Fiddler.

One of her main concerns is that people are not getting enough help.

“They go out and get help, but they come back to the same thing, maybe their house is not fixed up maybe their house is not nice and neat or living in the same conditions, so they come back to that and they have to face that and experience that again,” Desnomie-Fiddler explained.

She added that the first step to recovery is talking about it.

“It’s so important to talk. People have a hard time talking because of the shame and the guilt that they have inside of them and so they have a hard time being able to admit they are in trouble and need help,” Desnomie-Fiddler said.

Naloxone kits continue to help safe lives in overdose situations.

“Basically it’s a nasal spray that we put in the persons nose who is suffering an overdose,” Sgt. Jones said.

RCMP officers have been carrying naloxone kits for a number of years and are now encouraging the public to carry them as well

If residents of Saskatchewan want a naloxone kit they can get them for free through the Saskatchewan Health Authority's harm reduction program or provincial emergency departments.