Health and Addictions

The safety of our community is at risk because of the current addictions and health challenges in our city, and despite health being a provincial responsibility, The City of Red Deer recognizes that we all have a role to play when it comes to the health and safety of our city and its citizens. Right now, we are making every effort to work with the Province of Alberta in planning for and implementing the right solutions for Red Deer – solutions that balance four focus areas: treatment, harm reduction, prevention and enforcement. While the provincial government is heavily focused on harm reduction, there is an increased need to increase support in the other three areas.

Health, addiction and related community safety issues in Red Deer that need to be addressed by the Province of Alberta include:

  • The need for a strategic Provincial approach to the drug crisis
  • The problem of needle debris
  • Determining the appropriate location for permanent Safe Consumption Services (SCS)
  • A local long-term treatment facility and/or solution

The numbers

  • There have been 24 apparent accidental drug poisoning deaths related to fentanyl in Red Deer according to the Province of Alberta Opioids and Substance Misuse 2018 Report (January – June).
  • So far in 2018, Red Deer has the highest rate of apparent drug poisoning deaths related to fentanyl per, 100,000 population, according to Province of Alberta Opioids and Substance Misuse 2018 Report (January – June).
  • Red Deer has the only Overdose Prevention Site (OPS) in Alberta as of October 1, 2018.
  • As of October 1, 2018, there are 6 SCS sites operating within 3 Alberta cities, including Lethbridge, Calgary and Edmonton.
  • Turning Point, a local agency, distributed 548,909 syringes throughout Central Alberta during the April 2017-2018 fiscal year. Of these 548,909, many are improperly disposed of or unaccounted for in some way. Between January and June 2018, the following occurred:
    • 840 needles were cleaned-up by The City after being improperly disposed of at rough sleeper camps
    • Approximately 1,500 needles were cleaned up by the Downtown Business Association Clean Team.
    • Approximately, 1,200 needles were cleaned-up by The City of Red Deer in public spaces such as parks and trails around the community. 
Photo of used drug needles laying on the ground along with pieces of garbage

Supervised Consumption Services

Permanent, medically-supervised, hygienic spaces designated primarily for the purposes of monitoring consumption of previously obtained drugs and responding in the case of an adverse event, such as an overdose.


Overdose Prevention Sites

Temporary health services designated for the purposes of observing people while they are using previously obtained drugs and monitoring for adverse events, primarily overdose.