Medicine Hat News: Opioid deaths down in 2022 but issue has been around for years

Alisha OstbergNews, Uncategorized


The COVID-19 pandemic is often cited as causing the rise in opioid poisoning deaths and non-fatal opioid poisonings, which followed a similar trend, as, for many, the pandemic led to increased social isolation, reduced financial stability and had adverse effects on many individuals’ mental health.

But Katie Ayres, executive director of SafeLink Alberta – a harm reduction advocacy and support organization located in municipalities across Alberta – says the pandemic’s effects on Albertans’ mental well-being wasn’t the only factor to contribute to a rise in opioid poisoning deaths.

“Our team started noticing an increase in drug poisoning deaths and overdoses, probably around 2016 to 2018,” Ayres told the News. “But when COVID hit, there were some exacerbating factors which made things worse.”

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