Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann released the following statement in response to the Q3 Opioid and Substances of Misuse Report:
“With each passing quarterly report, it becomes painfully obvious that the NDP government does not have a handle on the opioid crisis. A nine per cent increase in fentanyl overdose deaths from last quarter is unacceptable, and a forty per cent yearly increase is nothing short of a disaster.
“Despite these troubling facts, the NDP fails to treat this with the urgency and importance it deserves, choosing, instead, to rely on a piecemeal, reactive response to this crisis.
“It has rejected my call for the reinstatement of a Chief Addictions and Mental Health Officer to manage this crisis and guide actions on the frontlines in favour of an advisory commission.
“It refuses to declare a state of emergency, which may not give any additional legal powers, but would be of immense symbolic value. Affected families and organizations – as well as all opposition caucuses – have advocated for this declaration, but their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
“As Alberta approaches two overdose deaths per day, every report, and awareness event organized by groups such as Moms Stop the Harm and Changing the Face of Addiction remind us of the tragic impact of these preventable deaths and the trail of sorrow that follows in their wake.
“People are dying. I cannot emphasize enough that the decisions government makes are literally a matter of life and death. We need better leadership, more coordinated and comprehensive action, and we need it now!”