The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) told us today that there’s been a rise in Fentanyl-related deaths in Saskatchewan. No doubt, this is a major issue. But I also wanted to contextualize this story with some information about booze.
According to the information collected by the Office of the Chief Coroner, there have been 41 fentanyl-related deaths in the province from 2010-15. These numbers do not include overdose deaths determined to be suicides.
Alyson Edwards, director of public affairs for the Saskatoon Police Service, said this is an “extremely” important issue.
“Not just deaths, but the number of near-misses, the number of overdoses where fentanyl may have been a factor,” Edwards said. “These are all concerns to us because this drug seems to be a drug of choice among young adults and it just won’t end well if that continues.”
This bears consideration, of course. But what about booze? What about alcohol-related deaths? What about alcohol-related injuries? Considering I study the history of drugs and alcohol, I had to dig a bit…
I went to SGI – ie., Saskatchewan Government Insurance.
There’s a revealing report from 2016 that demonstrates how Fentanyl is not necessarily the only drug we ought to be worrying about.
Injuries Due to Alcohol-Involved Collisions
2010: 779; 2011: 642; 2012: 736; 2013: 590; 2014: 536 = 3,283
Deaths Due to Alcohol-Involved Collisions
2010: 71; 2011: 66; 2012: 69; 2013: 42; 2014: 59 = 307
Bear in mind, too, that this doesn’t take into consideration 2015.
Am I suggesting we ignore Fentanyl? No way. Am I suggesting that 41 deaths is unimportant? Again, no way. I think it’s a serious concern.
Yet, we should also take stock of the more lethal, legal drug in our province.