Edmonton, AB (October 13, 2016): Dr. David Swann is alarmed at the revelation of 23 overdoses and three deaths this year in the secure Edmonton Remand Centre.
Statement from Dr. Swann:
“Even in controlled environments, the number of opioid deaths in Alberta is rising. This should ring alarm bells throughout the province.
“I am also frustrated that Albertans are relying on the media to investigate and publish these statistics, rather than our government.
“Alberta health officials have repeatedly stated a Public Health Emergency (PHE) is not necessary. However, the slow drip of information and regular revelations of new problems indicate the Government of Alberta does not have the grip on this crisis it says it does.
“In the case of the Remand Centre and other correctional facilities a PHE would allow the Chief Medical Officer of Health to mobilize sufficient health and corrections staff to adequately manage the initiation of opioid treatment. A step which would help prevent death and overdose.
“This evolving epidemic is impossible to manage and reverse through normal means, there are simply too many different elements of the problem.
“The Health Minister or the Chief Medical Officer must declare a state of emergency to mandate ministerial cooperation in attacking this deadly outbreak.”