MEDICINE HAT, AB – "Opioid crisis" is one expression that most Albertens hear several times a week.
However, many do not see what this term really means, and the number of life that they were taken from.
Since January 1, 2016, 1,782 people have died of accidental opioids in Alberta.
According to Alberta Health, Hat Medicine has already exceeded the total number of fentanyl deaths from last year.
"I think what it does show is that Medicine is slowing down compared to previous years," says Dr. Dina Hinshaw, who is a leader in health care for Alberta Health, "that the problem may be a bit worse."
In 2016, Medicine Hut had two fatalities associated with pentanil. In 2017 there were seven, and on September 30, 2018, there were eight.
In fact, the area south of Alberta is just behind Calgary for most of the county deaths.
In 2016, there were 13 deaths, in 2017 were 27, as of September 30, there were already 37 deaths.
"Fentanyl is a deadly substance," says Inspector Brent Secondiak with the Medical Police Hat "It can kill you for the first time on use so it's definitely a problem here."
Despite the increase, medicine slowed down and there is still less death by population than in almost every major city in Alberta.
In addition, Medicine Hut has not lost any life associated with other opioids.
"I think we're still in the grand scheme of things compared to The Bridge and Grand Prairie," says Inspector Secondiak. "We're still in a better place than these two cities."
Lethbridge has a population of about 100,000 and has been seen in 22 deaths, and Grande Prairie with a population of about 63,000 saw 16.
Although the number of fatal overdose are increasing,. Hineshoes mean that the speed at which they grow seems slowed down.
"I think it's one sign that we can take some encouragement," she said. "We do not see the upwards upward trends we have seen in recent years."
Dr. Hinshaw says other communities may experience accelerated growth due to a safe consumption site.
Medicine Hat has no site, and it seems to be lifting too.
Inspector Secondiak says that it is likely because of the first responders and the use of overdose Naloxone dose, also known as NARCAN.
"I hope it's because our first responders have NARCAN," says Secondiak Inspector. "Our deployments have risen significantly last year, so we're saving lives like that, our EMS team has it, our fire team has it and the police service."
However, the possible level does not mean that the crisis is over.
"We continue to have almost two deaths a day in Alberta from opioid poisoning," says Hinshaw. "So even though the numbers seem plauing we have a lot more work to do."