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Opioid-related death count up to more than 11,500 nationally: government data


OTTAWA — Canada’s opioid crisis claimed the lives of more than 11,500 people between January 2016 and December 2018, the Public Health Agency of Canada reported Thursday.

New data shows that 4,460 people died in 2018 alone and many of these deaths were related to the contamination of the illegal drug supply, the agency said.

The federal health agency said an analysis of national trends suggests there was a significant increase in death rates between January 2016 and June 2017, noting the rates then stayed high from July 2017 to December 2018.

It also said Western Canada remains the most affected region of the country.

The epidemic remains the most challenging public-health crisis in decades, said the co-chairs of federal government’s advisory committee on the epidemic of opioid overdoses, chief public-health officer Dr. Theresa Tam and Saskatchewan chief medical-health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab.

Fentanyl and other fentanyl-related substances continue to be a major driver of the crisis, they added.

Fentanyl is an opioid more potent than heroin or morphine, often cut with fillers and then passed off as its less-powerful cousins because it’s easier to transport and hide. People who use illegal drugs often can’t know exactly what they’ve bought and a tiny excess dose can be fatal.

“There is still much work to be done to abate the opioid crisis, and Canadians can be assured that addressing it remains our priority,” Tam and Shahab said in a joint statement.

Numbers on opioid overdoses take a long time to extract from sources like hospital records because they aren’t always tracked in easily comparable ways and people who suffer them often have other serious health problems. It’s only now, almost halfway into 2019, that the public-health agency has been able to compile figures through to the end of last year.

Even so, the 11,577 deaths since January 2016 are qualified as “apparent opioid-related overdoses.” According to the health agency, most of the people who have died also had other potentially harmful substances in their systems, such as alcohol, cocaine or methamphetamines.

As the death toll climbs, the federal government has faced pressure from health advocates to allow for a safe supply of opioids to be made available to people suffering from addiction so they do not have to turn to a toxic street supply.

There has also been a push to decriminalize simple possession, including by Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, who is putting forward a private member’s bill proposing the removal of penalties for simple possession of drugs from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

Earlier this week, the House of Commons health committee issued a report urging the federal government to look at Portugal’s decriminalization of simple possession and examine how the idea could be “positively applied in Canada.”

It made the recommendation, among others, in a report produced after committee members travelled across Canada to witness the impacts of methamphetamine use.

Witnesses who appeared before the committee called for the federal government to work with provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous communities and law-enforcement agencies to decriminalize simple possession of small quantities of illicit substances, the report said.

The Conservatives on the health committee issued a dissenting report saying that several other things need to be done before decriminalization, pointing out a number of differences between Canada and Portugal. They say Canada needs better drug-treatment programs and more public education about drugs.

Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press


A life changer – a student’s story




A student presented to the disability department at Red Deer College (RDC), in a bad way. She was from out of province, feeling far from home. She had no money or resources. She was very vulnerable, pale, listless, sad, lonely and in despair. She had tried to get help in a few different ways but had struck out. The counsellor at the college called the RDPCN Street Clinic to arrange some help.

The receptionist there was very helpful. By giving her name and telling the student she would lead her through the clinic, a contact was established and she gave the student hope and the courage to come there.

The RDC counsellor, worried and wondered for a few months what had happened to the student. Then one day the student popped into her office. She was bright, smiling, and carried herself so differently from their first meeting. She had found resources to help her through and to meet her needs, she was moving forward with joy.

The counsellor, a nurse, remarked, “This is a nursing experience that I will never forget. This is how it is supposed to work. The Street Clinic was there for her, and they helped her tremendously.”

About the Red Deer Primary Care Network

We (RDPCN) are a partnership between Family Doctors and Alberta Health Services. Health professionals such as psychologists, social workers, nurses and pharmacist work in clinics alongside family doctors.

In addition, programs and groups are offered at the RDPCN central location. This improves access to care, health promotion, chronic disease management and coordination of care.  RDPCN is proud of the patient care offered, the effective programs it has designed and the work it does with partners in health care and the community.

I Did Everything the Family Nurse suggested and it Worked like Magic!

Achieving Mental Health is an Everyday Task



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THE 100 MILLION DOLLAR ANNOUNCEMENT – First Phase of Red Deer Regional Hospital Expansion to start in 2021!



The Government of Alberta announces a major $100 million first phase expansion of the Red Deer Hospital.

First phase of Red Deer hospital expansion announced

The Alberta government is committing $100 million to begin expansion of the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

This capital funding is in addition to the $20.6 billion annual budget for health services, the highest ever in the province and the highest per capita of all provinces.

“For years, residents of central Alberta and Red Deer have been calling for their hospital to be expanded. Our government is the first to listen. I’m proud to announce funding will be made available as part of Budget 2020 for the first phase of the Red Deer hospital expansion.”

Jason Kenney, Premier

The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre is the busiest hospital outside Edmonton and Calgary and has operated beyond its design capacity for many years.

The funding will expedite work to finalize the project scope, construction schedule, operating budget, and expansion of health care services at the facility.

“Past governments wasted years on half-measures and planning that we are completing now. This initial $100-million commitment is our promise to Red Deer that we will get this done right, and as soon as possible.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

“Designing, planning and building health infrastructure provides good jobs for Albertans. We are committed to getting the front-end work of this project right so that the people of Red Deer and surrounding areas have a hospital that meets their needs.”

Prasad Panda, Minister of Infrastructure

“The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre is one of the busiest hospitals in Alberta and is the primary health-service provider for our citizens, the regional population, and every Albertan travelling along the central QEII corridor. Today’s announcement by the Government of Alberta responds to this longstanding infrastructure need of our community. The lives, health and well-being of our loved ones matter most of all, and this vital investment and expansion will help ensure access to care and improved health outcomes that the people of Red Deer and central Alberta critically need.”

Tara Veer, mayor, City of Red Deer

“This is excellent news for Red Deer and all of central Alberta. The Red Deer community has long advocated for improvements to the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, and this initial funding commitment clearly demonstrates our government’s willingness to listen to, and act upon, the concerns of Albertans from all across the province.”

Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education and MLA for Red Deer-North

“This is great news for central Albertans! Thank you to the leadership of Premier Kenney and Minister Shandro in hearing the concerns of central Albertans and taking decisive action to improve access to much-needed health services in our community.”

Jason Stephan, MLA for Red Deer-South

Quick facts

  • The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre provides a full spectrum of acute care, including advanced surgery, internal medicine and diagnostics, as well as obstetrics, pediatrics, oncology, critical care and emergency care.
  • Approximately 50 per cent of patients seen at the hospital are referred from outside Red Deer.
  • The population of the Red Deer area is expected to increase by 24 per cent to 358,000 by 2035.


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february, 2020

sun12jan(jan 12)2:00 pmsun22mar(mar 22)5:00 pmAnne Frank: A History for Today opening at Red Deer MAG(january 12) 2:00 pm - (march 22) 5:00 pm mst Red Deer Museum & Art Gallery Address: 4525 - 47A Avenue, Red Deer

sun02feb(feb 2)7:00 pmsun15mar(mar 15)8:00 pm7:00 pm - (march 15) 8:00 pm Festival Hall, 4214 58 St, Red Deer, AB Event Organized By: Country Pride Dance Club

fri28febsun01mar54th Annual Sport & Outdoor Show4:00 pm - (march 1) 9:00 pm