A first for North America is in the works, taking place in Alberta’s own capital city.
Edmonton will soon be home to the continent’s first hospital-based supervised consumption site, providing patients the resources necessary to curb the on-going opioid epidemic, according to a release from the government of Alberta.
The site received its final official approval from Health Canada earlier this month, and is set to open on April 2. Once operational, the unit will remain open 24/7, and will be able to provide services for up to six patients at a time.
“It’s important we do everything we can to support individuals and families affected by the opioid crisis,” said Alberta Minister of Health Sarah Hoffman, in the release.
“The addition of this new lifesaving service at the Royal Alex not only means greater safety for patients, it also supports a safer hospital environment for staff and visitors.”
Along with nurses capable of administering naloxone, patients will be able to access doctors, counsellors, social workers, and peer-support workers if needed.
According to the release, 562 Albertans died of apparent fentanyl poisoning last year, with 135 of those overdoses occurring in Edmonton.
The Royal Alexandra site is one of six that have been approved by Health Canada in Alberta, with the others being located in Calgary, Lethbridge, and other areas of Edmonton.
Since opening, the combined sites have reversed at least 129 overdoses.