A look back on the staggering death toll related to recreational use of this lethal opioid

In 2015, the province saw a spike in deaths from fentanyl overdoses. The drug, commonly used as a strong painkiller, has become increasingly popular for recreational drug users in the past few years. But with an increase in popularity, there has also been an increase in lives lost.

As the situation in Alberta worsened, Alberta Health Services made naloxone – a drug that can temporarily reverse fentanyl overdose symptoms – available free of charge, no prescription necessary. However, not everyone had easy access to naloxone kits, with only four kits available on Alberta reserves.

A total of 272 deaths related to fentanyl were reported in 2015, an increase from 120 the year before, with 81 of those deaths reported in Calgary alone. Fentanyl is an opioid, in the same family of drugs as heroin and morphine.

To view the full Storify project, click here. https://storify.com/CalgaryJournal/alberta-s-fight-against-fentanyl 

Thumbnail image courtesy of ALERT (Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams)

zchoy@cjournal.ca & tskey@cjournal.ca 

The editor responsible for this article is Jodi Brak, jbrak@cjournal.ca