EDMONTON — Alberta's health-care funding deal with the federal government includes $6 million to deal with increasing numbers of deaths from opioids such as fentanyl.
The province began taking steps last year to deal with the crisis, including expanding access to naloxone, an injection that can save an overdose victim from dying.
It is already spending more than $2.6 million to help police crack down on fentanyl distribution and more than $700,000 on safe injection site projects.
Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman thanked the federal government for helping to address the impact of opioids.
Last year, 343 people died of apparent drug overdoses related to fentanyl in the province, compared to 257 in 2015.
Earlier this week, Alberta's four opposition parties called on the province to declare a public health emergency in the fight against opioids.
Liberal Leader David Swann, who is also a medical doctor, said the money for a strategy to deal with opioid use is good news.
"The opioid crisis urgently needed these resources. However, money alone will not solve this. We must have better, focused leadership and a more comprehensive, cross-jurisdictional strategy."
Hoffman said how and what the $6 million will go towards is still being determined.
"Priority areas include the take-home naloxone program, additional treatment beds, supervised consumption services and methadone and suboxone treatment programs."
In February, B.C. declared a public health emergency and received $10 million from the federal government to take more action. Opioid-related overdoses claimed 922 lives in British Columbia last year.
The Canadian Press