Record number of drug responses for Lethbridge EMS since SCS closed last year

The third quarter of 2021 saw Lethbridge EMS responding to more opioid-related events than in any other third quarter since 2018. Actually, than any other quarter since 2018.

Earlier this month, the Government of Alberta updated the data on the Alberta substance use surveillance system, which it uses to communicate information about substance use in the province.

The new data includes EMS responses to opioid-related events up to the week ending 20 September 2021. Hospitalization, death, and SCS usage data has not been updated beyond March 2021.

My last story on drug usage in Lethbridge had EMS data up to July. Since then, Lethbridge EMS responded to 71 opioid-related events during the month of August and the first three weeks of September.

The 49 opioid-related events that the EMS responded to in August was the most ever seen in any August since 2018. Same goes for the 22 events responded to in September, and the month isn’t even over yet.

September 2021 stats are for 3 weeks. The other Septembers are for 4 weeks.

Not only that, but the third quarter of 2021—which I remind you is still lacking 10 days of data—saw the most EMS responses to opioid-related events than any other third quarter since 2018. In fact, it was the most of any quarter at all during that period.


That makes two quarters this year that have been record breaking.

As well, during the 12 months since the SCS closed down last August, Lethbridge has seen 337 opioid-related events that EMS have responded to. This is the highest number of such events during the same period over the last 3 years.

Sep 2018–Aug 2019236
Sep 2019–Aug 2020269
Sep 2020–Aug 2021337

It’ll be interesting to see what the data shows once the province releases information on deaths, hospitalizations, and SCS usage beyond just March 2021.

Support independent journalism

By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

One reply on “Record number of drug responses for Lethbridge EMS since SCS closed last year”

Comment on this story

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: