A Wildrose motion presented to the Standing Committee on Families and Communities to tackle Alberta’s opioid crisis head on was deferred by the NDP majority, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.
The motion sets the parameters of the study to include:
- Studying the availability and timeliness of access to treatment beds and solutions for those addicted to opioids;
- An evaluation of public awareness and public reporting campaigns to provide data on where overdoses are taking place; and,
- Ensuring that there is adequate preparation and funding to handle the opioid crisis to create safer communities.
“I’m disappointed to see that the NDP majority committee members have hid behind procedure at the committee level in order to defer a study of the opioid crisis in Alberta,” Wildrose Shadow Health Minister Drew Barnes said. “Wildrose has long urged for reform of our province’s committees. For the large number of Albertans grappling with an opioid addiction, and for their loved ones, this committee’s work could be pivotal in creating life-saving solutions.”
Alberta is on track to have over 276 fentanyl related deaths this year – a higher number than when the fentanyl crisis first started in 2015. That figure does not take into consideration other opioid deaths in the province.
“This crisis is hurting families right across the province and harming communities. We need to do all we can across all parties to help address this crisis,” Barnes said. “We need solutions, we need a comprehensive strategy and Wildrose will continue to be that voice to push the NDP government in the right direction.”
While there are two other matters of business to consider at the committee before the opioid crisis could be studied, Wildrose encourages the committee to set aggressive timelines in order to deal with other topics that have a direct impact on the lives of Albertans.
Wildrose released a 12-point action plan on fentanyl, and has called for a public health emergency on the fentanyl crisis, as has been done in British Columbia. The request for a public health emergency has also been denied by the NDP government.