Opioid Crisis Response

How is the City of Leduc responding to the opioid crisis?

The City of Leduc has received a $60,000 Opioid Response Public Awareness grant from Alberta Health. This grant will be used to address and break down the stigma of substance use disorder and opioids in the community. We are committed to raising awareness of the unprecedented dangers of opioid use and to providing both harm reduction strategies and support to those that are using opioid drugs or who are affected by them. The City has designated a Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator to oversee and maintain the success of the Opioid response framework. This will be done by focusing on education, awareness, reducing stigma, and harm reduction in our community. 

Leduc Opioid Response Framework Goals:  

  1. Minimize harm to people using opioids
    1. Assess community readiness for additional harm reduction strategies (e.g. clean needle exchange, Doctors Against Tragedies, supervised consumption).
    2. Enhance/expand emergency response.
    3. Explore the introduction of non-profit and peer outreach programs to reduce harm and increase services.
  2. The community is compassionate, drug aware and resilient
    1. Continue to focus on community and youth education.
    2. Work with physicians, first responders and pharmacists to support their opioid response needs.
    3. Increase compassion in the community.
  3. People have access to timely, affordable, and integrated addiction and mental health supports and treatments.
    1. Advocate for improved access to psycho-social supports for everyone impacted by opioid crisis (individuals, families, front-line workers).
    2. Advocate for improved access to detox services.
    3. Advocate for improved access to treatment (residential/outpatient).

As part of its mandate to make Leduc a drug aware and resilient community, the Leduc Community Drug Action Committee (LCDAC) has hosted two fentanyl information sessions to date. Attendees were educated on resources and information they need to protect themselves and others in our community from the negative effects of fentanyl. In addition to the fentanyl sessions, the LCDAC also offers naloxone training sessions (where attendees learn how to recognize and respond to a fentanyl overdose) as well as harm reduction workshops.

The LCDAC is continuously working towards solutions to the opioid crisis in the community. Until the end of 2019, the City of Leduc plans to build upon existing initiatives by focusing on drug awareness programs, social media marketing, media advocacy and media literacy in order to raise awareness around the risks related to opioids and to help educate the public to further reduce the number of overdoses. Existing initiatives include the Community Opioid Education Sessions and Education Module Development in partnership with the University of Alberta.  

A public survey regarding the use of Opioids was conducted in 2018 and 378 survey responses were received. This survey was designed to help understand and compare the various perspectives within the Leduc region . Of the 378 respondents, one-in-four reported that someone close to them currently uses or has previously used opioids.

The results of the survey and the general feedback from the public indicated two sides to this growing epidemic. There are those who understand that addiction is a chronic disease that can start with the use of prescription drugs, trauma and mental health issues, or youth experimentation. On the other hand, there are those who feel that addiction is a personal choice and that tax dollars should not be spent on opioid response when so many other medical conditions are responses go under-resourced.

The City values those with lived experiences. These individuals will be meaningfully consulted to share their stories with the general public. Overall, we will be focusing on public awareness and engagement to break down the stigma and stereotypes on who uses drugs, and how those affected can access safe help. Substance use disorder (addiction) is not a choice and it can quickly develop as a person’s brain chemistry is impacted.

Our goal with this approach is to help our community understand that substance use disorder is a health condition and not a moral failing. We will continue to engage partner organizations to build regional momentum over the long term.

If you or your employer/organization are interested in taking part in a naloxone training session, please contact us to submit a request. For any other additional information, feedback or details, please contact Family and Community Support Services at 780-980-7109.