In response to surveillance data that showed a further increase in the number of fentanyl-related deaths, the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health has implemented a range of new tools to address overdoses and deaths related to fentanyl and other opioids.
Collecting and sharing the information helps government and the Minister's Opioid Emergency Response Commission tailor their actions and plans to address the opioid crisis in the most effective manner.
Opioid surveillance quarterly reports
Quarterly reports are used to assess not only fentanyl misuse, but the use/misuse of opioids and narcotics in Alberta through existing public health surveillance.
- Q3 report: July to September 2019 (PDF, 2 MB)
- Q2 report: April to June 2019
- Q1 report: January to March 2019
- Q4 report: October to December 2018 (PDF, 1.7 MB)
- Q4 report addendum (PDF, 1.3 MB)
- Q3 report: July to September 2018 (PDF, 1.6 MB)
- Q3 report addendum (PDF, 1.3 MB)
- Q2 report: April to June 2018 (PDF, 2 MB)
- Q2 report addendum (PDF, 1 MB)
- Q1 report: January to March 2018 (PDF, 1.3 MB)
- Q1 report addendum (PDF, 1 MB)
- Q4 report: October to December 2017 (PDF, 1.4 MB)
- Q3 report: July to September 2017 (PDF, 1.4 MB)
- Q2 report: April to June 2017 (PDF, 1.7 MB)
- Q1 report: January to March 2017 (PDF, 1.1 MB)
- Q4 report: October to December 2016 (PDF, 1.2 MB)
- Q3 report: July to September 2016 (PDF, 762 KB)
Review of medical examiner data
Opioid surveillance interim reports
Interim reports use 6-week data to show apparent drug overdose deaths related to fentanyl.
- Interim report: October 1 to November 11, 2018 (PDF, 595 KB)
- Interim report: July 2 to August 12, 2018 (PDF, 606 KB)
- Interim report: March 26 to May 6, 2018 (PDF, 421 KB)
- Interim report: January 1 to February 11, 2018 (PDF, 403 KB)
- Interim report: October 1 to November 11, 2017 (PDF, 244 KB)
- Interim report: July 2 to August 12, 2017 (PDF, 170 KB)
- Interim report: April 2 to May 13, 2017 (PDF, 221 KB)
- Interim report: January 1 to February 11, 2017 (PDF, 934 KB)
Opioid crisis response reports
These reports provide updates on Alberta's urgent actions to the province's opioid crisis prior to the creation of the Minister's Opioid Emergency Response Commission.
First Nations reporting
- Alberta opioid response surveillance report: First Nations People in Alberta, December 2019 (PDF, 987 KB)
- Opioids and substance misuse among First Nations people: 2017 (PDF, 393 KB)
Government of Alberta’s response to the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate report:
Unintentional fentanyl-related deaths in Alberta
The rise in fentanyl overdoses is part of a pattern that has been seen across Canada.
The Canadian Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use has tracked this pattern in a 2015 bulletin, Deaths Involving Fentanyl in Canada, 2009 to 2014 (PDF, 310 KB).
|January to March||168||116||68||73||-||-||-||-|
|April to June||166*||131||80||66||-||-||-||-|
|July to September||180||141||83||65||-||-||-||-|
|October to December||159||178||116||52||-||-||-||-|
Opioids are drugs used to relieve pain. The most common forms are:
Opioids can be pharmaceutical-grade and prescribed by physicians and surgeons. Prescription opioids can end up for illegal sale on the street. These can be “cut” or tainted with other compounds, including fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a very strong, odourless and tasteless synthetic narcotic about 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Non-illicit fentanyl is typically prescribed to control severe pain.
Illicitly manufactured fentanyl is being imported, mixed with other drugs and illegally sold in pill form (fake oxys and other club drugs) or powder form (as heroin or fent) and powder form mixed into other drugs (for example, cocaine, crystal meth, etc.).
Three or 4 grains of fentanyl are enough to kill an average adult.
Carfentanil is a fentanyl analogue and opioid drug 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl. It is not licensed for use in humans, but is meant to sedate large animals under strict safety conditions, such as elephants.
One grain can kill an adult.