A new report points to a troubling trend of opioid abuse in Alberta.
The joint report is from the Canadian Institute for Health Information and the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.
It found that in 2014-15, the number of people visiting emergency rooms for opioid poisoning over the last five years increased most dramatically in Alberta, at 53 per cent.
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That’s compared to a 22 per cent increase in Ontario.
The study found 13 Canadians per day were hospitalized after taking pain-killing opioid medications.
“We know that this isn’t the full picture… there’s also deaths from opioid poisons as well that are occurring out in the community and other types of harms that are occurring,” said CIHI spokeperson Michael Gaucher.
Gaucher says Alberta sees three emergency room visits a day for opioid poisoning.
“We’re seeing rates increasing more significantly in the younger populations.”
He says this is in part because of a younger working population, who may suffer injuries and need prescribed medications like oxycodone and morphine for pain management.
The report also found that seniors account for nearly one-quarter of all hospital admissions because of opioid overdoses; most of which are accidental.