New overdose data from the Alberta government does not paint a pretty picture in Lethbridge.
Earlier this year in May, 10 people succumbed to a fatal overdose with a total of 21 people dying in the South Zone of Alberta.
That brings the year to date total for the City of Lethbridge up to 67 in 2023.
Along with 107 deaths in the first five months of the year in the South Zone.
Provincially, those numbers were 151 and 770 respectively.
According to the Alberta government there were 133 admissions to hospitals in the South Zone due to substance abuse in the first quarter of this year.
As well, close to 69 per cent of fatal overdose victims in our province were men.
Bridge City News reached out to Dan Williams, the Alberta Minister of Mental Health and Addiction for comment on the story. His press secretary Hunter Baril sent us a statement saying, “Any life lost to addiction is a tragedy, and we extend condolences to the loved ones of those who have lost their lives. This deadly disease is impacting entire communities, which is why we have invested so much focus on making supports available. Recently announced was the ground breaking of the Blood Tribe Recovery Community, and we are glad to see that the Lethbridge Recovery Community is getting closer to opening its doors. These two facilities will provide long-term addiction treatment services for up to 500 people every year at no cost in southern Alberta.”
The release from Baril went on to say, “We are committed to removing barriers to ensure that anyone in Alberta can access recovery, which is why these investments are so important, along with other services like the Virtual Opioid Dependency Program, which provides same-day access to life-saving addiction treatment medication anywhere in the province. As we continue building out the Alberta Model, families and communities will be in a better position to care for those suffering from the deadly disease of addiction.”