Fentanyl epidemic a public health crisis

Re. “Swann urges province to declare public health emergency over fentanyl,” 

Edmonton Journal, Letter to the Editor, Sept. 8

We lost our son Danny (age 25) to an overdose in 2014, and I strongly support Dr. David Swann’s call for the declaration of a public health emergency over the number of overdose deaths in this province.

Getting accurate real time numbers and being able to respond rapidly to the crisis is one of the reasons the province of B.C. declared a public health emergency in April.

This is not about giving special powers to police, as the Alberta’s Associate Minister of Health Brandy Payne states, but about allowing for flexible and innovative strategies to save lives.

What would we do if we had this number of deaths for any other condition? We need to know the facts and we need the province to invest strategically in harm reduction initiatives, such as opioid replacement programs and supervised injection sites.

Harm reduction initiatives give people a chance to make a better decision on another day. Dead people never recover and we need to give our kids a fighting chance.

Petra Schulz, Edmonton