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Advocacy groups grade parties on opioid crisis plans
Published Wednesday, April 3, 2019 9:50PM MDT
Last Updated Thursday, April 4, 2019 12:29PM MDT
A report card released Wednesday graded all the parties on their plans to battle the opioid epidemic in Alberta.
Change the Face of Addiction and Moms Stop the Harm gave Rachel Notley and the New Democratic Party (NDP) a B, Jason Kenney and the United Conservative Party (UCP) a D-, Stephen Mandel and the Alberta Party an F and David Khan and the Alberta Liberal Party an A-.
The liberals received the highest grade for their promise to declare a public health emergency and $150-million commitment to mental health and addictions care.
The NDP received the second best grade thanks to their investment in supervised consumption sites and funding of naloxone kits.
“However, we are disappointed that the premier really hasn’t spoken to this issue much,” said Petra Schulz with Moms Stop the Harm.
Kenney has stated that the opioid crisis is a “public health emergency,” the UCP promised to appoint an associate minister for mental health and additions and invest $30 million to expand access to drug treatment programming.
“However, where he is willing to commit is not in areas that are evidence-based and shown to actually save lives.”
In a statement to CTV News, the UCP said, “We have not said we would pause supervised consumption services nor implement abstinence only programming. We have said that there needs to be more consultation with communities about the location of these sites and that future sites must also provide treatment services.”
The advocacy groups believe the Alberta Party has failed to address the opioid crisis. In a statement to CTV News, the party outlined its strategy to tackle the opioid crisis.
“As part of the cannabis revenue plan the Party will increase funds to municipalities to support local harm reduction efforts. 50% of cannabis revenue will be earmarked to municipalities to address issues such as housing, harm reduction and counselling.”
For Schulz, the opioid crisis is personal: her son Danny died of a fentanyl overdose in 2014. But she said it’s a province-wide problem.
“Because it could be your family that is affected tomorrow.”
With files from CTV Edmonton’s Sarah Plowman