The rising number of opioid overdoses in Alberta is having a disproportionately greater affect on Indigenous people, including more deaths and visits to emergency rooms.
Alberta Health says Indigenous people have been dying from accidental opioid overdoses at a rate three times higher than non-Aboriginal people.
The rate of visits to hospitals is also greater. Calls to emergency medical responders for opioid-related problems are 12 times higher in Calgary and seven times higher in Edmonton.
Associate health minister Brandy Payne says the findings show more needs to be done to help Indigenous people deal with the opioid crisis.
The report says 87 Indigenous people died in Alberta from opioids, including fentanyl, last year and in the first three months of this year.
That compares with 614 deaths among non-Aboriginal people during the same period.
Indigenous people make up about six per cent of Alberta’s population.
Alberta is opening safe opioid consumption sites in Calgary, Edmonton and Lethbridge to help reduce overdoses.
The province expects to receive recommendations from its opioid task force later this month on whether it should open similar sites in smaller communities, including Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Red Deer, Medicine Hat and Edson.