‘Heartbreaking Alberta First Nations Opioid Death Statistics Sparks Concern’

Alberta First Nations opioid death numbers ‘heartbreaking’

“First Nations People in Alberta: Battling the Opioid Crisis

In a recent report released by Alberta’s government, a troubling trend has been revealed – First Nations Peoples are disproportionately affected by opioid-related deaths in the province. This statistic hits home for individuals like Jody Plaineagle, who tragically lost a family member to addiction.

Disproportionate Impact on First Nations Peoples

The data shows that the rate of unintentional opioid deaths among First Nations Peoples in Alberta is over eight times higher than the general population. Despite making up only 3.4 percent of Albertans, First Nations Peoples accounted for 20 percent of all unintentional opioid deaths between 2016 and 2022. In 2022 alone, this number rose to nearly one in four deaths.

Dr. Esther Tailfeathers, who has been actively involved in fighting the opioid crisis, expresses her concern about the growing disparity. She emphasizes the urgent need for more wraparound supports for individuals struggling with addiction within Indigenous communities. The government has pledged to invest over $180 million in building recovery communities in partnership with Indigenous communities, taking a land-based approach to support individuals in their journey to recovery and reconnecting with their culture.

A Call for Immediate Action

Despite these efforts, Tailfeathers fears that support may come too late for many who are currently battling addiction. The delayed response to the crisis makes it increasingly challenging to reverse the concerning trend of opioid-related deaths among First Nations Peoples. Urgent action is needed from both the provincial and federal governments to address this ongoing crisis and provide the necessary resources and support for those affected.

As the numbers continue to paint a grim picture, it is crucial for policymakers, healthcare providers, and communities to work together to implement effective solutions that prioritize the well-being and recovery of First Nations Peoples in Alberta. The time to act is now to prevent further loss and devastation within Indigenous communities.”



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