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Fentanyl pills are shown in an undated police handout photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)

CALGARY – An average of two people have died each day in Alberta this year as a result of an apparent accidental opioid poisoning according to the latest numbers compiled by the provincial government.

In its Alberta Opioid Response Surveillance Report for the second quarter of 2019, the Alberta Government confirmed 305 people have died this year as a result of opioid poisoning, with the vast majority of the deaths involving fentanyl (288 cases).

According to the report,  153 fentanyl-related accidental poisoning deaths occurred in Alberta in the second quarter of 2019, an increase over the 135 deaths that occurred in the first three months of the year.

The province confirms 84 per cent of the fentanyl-related deaths of the first six months of 2019 occurred in one of Alberta's seven largest cities and an additional substance (ie. methamphetamines or cocaine) contributed to the death in roughly 83 per cent of all accidental fentanyl-related deaths.  

Visits to supervised consumption sites in Alberta increased in each quarter of 2018 (10,234 in first quarter, 48,292 in second quarter, 63,973 in third quarter, and 86,442 in fourth quarter) but have remained relatively constant between the first two quarters of 2019 (94,614 in first quarter and 94,214 in second quarter).

Supervised consumption visits in 2019:

  • Lethbridge 120,161
  • Calgary 33,317
  • Edmonton 33,024
  • Grande Prairie (site opened March 2019) 2,326
  • Alberta total: 188,828

The complete report is available at Alberta Opioid Response Surveillance Report