Boyle Street asks for 'more outreach' in opioid crisis after deaths of 3 men
EDMONTON -- Flowers have popped up on a bench in downtown Edmonton following the sudden deaths of three men Friday afternoon, the latest victims in Canada’s drug overdose crisis.
The three men were found dead in a park near 96 Street and 103 Avenue around 4 p.m. Friday.
All three were in cardiac arrest when paramedics arrived, later dying on scene.
The executive director of Boyle Street Community Services says not even the naloxone kits that were used on the men could have saved them by the time they were found.
“Our understanding is that those are overdose deaths. We are obviously waiting for confirmation from the coroners office, but that’s our understanding is that they’re overdose deaths,” said Jordan Reiniger.
Samantha Waskahat spotted the three men on the bench Friday afternoon, but didn’t think much of it until peace officers arrived at the scene.
She says she now wishes she did more at the time.
“I thought they were sleeping but then the peace officers walked by and did CPR and stuff,” said Waskahat. “If I knew, I could have done something,”
Reiniger says the deaths of the three at once is a shock, even with numbers climbing.
In 2019, there were 267 overdose deaths in Edmonton, with the death toll nearly doubling to 485 in 2020.
To help combat the spike in deaths, Dr. Krishna Balachandra says all agencies need to work together.
“That includes government, health providers, social agencies, all to come together, as well as advocates for people who use drugs all to come together to find some solutions.”
Reiniger says the deaths have sparked a conversation between his agency, healthcare providers and police on how to come together to fight the growing epidemic.
“More outreach, more connections. It’s about more naloxone kits in the hands of those who might be interacting with people because those are lifesaving treatments, so there’s a lot that we can do.”
With files from CTV News Edmonton’s David Ewasuk