June 16, 2021
Edmonton… Alberta’s Child and Youth Advocate has released a follow-up report on youth opioid use. Renewed Focus: A Follow-Up Report on Youth Opioid Use in Alberta explores what has changed since the Advocate’s first report on this issue was released in June of 2018.
The Advocate is calling on government to develop and implement a provincial youth strategy to address opioid and substance use.
“The impact of the opioid crisis on young people and their families has worsened over the past three years,” said Del Graff, Child and Youth Advocate. “We need government to take action now to ensure young people have access to the continuum of services they need.”
In 2020, 95 young people under the age of 25 died from accidental opioid poisoning in Alberta. So far in 2021, 29 deaths were reported in the first quarter alone. If this trend continues, the number of young people lost to the opioid crisis this year will be the most devastating on record.
“It is our hope as an office that we never have to write follow-up reports,” said Terri Pelton, Executive Director, Child and Youth Advocacy. “While we saw some action on our recommendations early on, it has not been sufficient to change the trajectory of this crisis for young people.”
The Child and Youth Advocate has the authority under the Child and Youth Advocate Act to complete special reports on issues impacting children and youth who are receiving designated government services.
The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate is an independent office of the Alberta Legislature representing the rights, interests and viewpoints of young people receiving designated government services.
Office of the Child and Youth Advocate of Alberta