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Nearly 1,700 Albertans died from drug-poisoning in 2023: Alberta Health

Fentanyl pills are shown in an undated police handout photo. (The Canadian Press/HO - Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams) Fentanyl pills are shown in an undated police handout photo. (The Canadian Press/HO - Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams)
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According to the latest data released by the province, 149 Albertans died from drug-poisoning deaths in October 2023, bringing the year’s total to 1,692.

When comparing only the first 10 months of the year, 2023 has a higher number of deaths than any other year.

According to the Alberta Substance Use Surveillance System (ASUSS) with 1,692 deaths so far, 2023 has fewer total deaths than both 2022, and 2021, however data for November and December of last year has not yet been released by the province.

Of the 149 newly reported deaths, 144, or 97 per cent involved opioids. All but 127 of the 1,692 drug-poisoning deaths reported in Alberta during 2023 did not involve opioids.

Based on reports done on more than 800 people who died of accidental drug-poisoning last year, Fentanyl was present in 79 per cent of deaths, Methamphetamine in 63 per cent and Carfentanil in 23 percent.

The age group with the highest number of drug-poisonings in 2023 were between the ages of 35 to 39 years of age. Sixty-nine per cent of those were male.

From a geographical standpoint, 58 of October's 149 deaths were in Edmonton, 44 were in Calgary and the other 47 occurred elsewhere in the province.

Of the more than 1,600 drug-poisoning deaths reported in 2023 thus far, 36 per cent have occurred in Edmonton, and 33 percent in Calgary. 

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