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Drug-poisoning deaths in Alberta remain high, new records set: Alberta Health data

FILE - Garth Mullins holds a Naloxone anti-overdose kit in downtown Vancouver, Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. Jonathan Hayward / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILE - Garth Mullins holds a Naloxone anti-overdose kit in downtown Vancouver, Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. Jonathan Hayward / THE CANADIAN PRESS
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Newly released data from Alberta's health ministry shows that 168 people died from drug poisonings in July of this year. That is two fewer deaths than the month prior, however it still has the highest number of deaths of any July on record and is up by 45 deaths compared to the same month last year.

The new data also retroactively added two deaths to April's total, bringing it up to a record breaking total of 194. Previously November 2021 and April 2023 were tied for the months with the highest deaths on record with 192 deaths each.

When comparing deaths in the first seven months of the year, 2023 has had the most with 1169, while last year had the second highest total with 1021. That is a 14.5 per cent increase.

The year 2021 had the highest total number of deaths on record with 1,865.

Of the deaths reported in the first seven months of 2023, the age group most affected were those in the 35-39 range, accounting for 210 of the deaths, followed by those aged 30-34 with 181. Of those deaths, only six per cent did not involve opioids.

Of the substance-related deaths that have been released so far this year, 32 per cent were in Edmonton, and 36 per cent have been in Calgary, while the remainder occurred elsewhere in the province. Edmonton had 58 deaths reported in July, while Calgary had 57.

Since January 2016, 9,455 Albertans have died of drug poisoning. 

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