296 overdose deaths reported in Saskatchewan so far in 2020

A report from the Saskatchewan Coroners Service paints a picture of how concerning overdose numbers have become in the province.

According to the report, there have been 122 confirmed deaths from overdose due to illicit drugs and 174 suspected deaths from January 1 to October 26. A suspected death means the evidence and circumstances surrounding the death indicate an overdose.

At a total of 296 deaths so far in 2020, that’s almost a death per day in Saskatchewan.

Jason Mercredi, the executive director of Prairie Harm Reduction, said these are alarming numbers.

“The frustration… it is incredibly frustrating,” admitted Mercredi. “You have more than 30 people dying in a month over the last two months. It feels like the exponential growth curve – but for people dying.”

The report from the coroners service shows 58 of the confirmed deaths were in Regina while 24 were found in Saskatoon.

Mercredi said this crisis needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

“What we’re asking for from the health authority is to show they are taking this seriously because you can’t have a record for deaths that are only getting worse month-over-month and say the level of effort and investment is adequate,” suggested Mercredi.

“If we’re not getting leadership from government, then the community leaders need to step up and make this happen on their own. The situation is not good right now. A lot of people are dying right now.”

There were 171 deaths in 2018 which was the previous record.

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