“Addiction is an illness that continues to affect our communities. International Overdose Awareness Day is a solemn reminder of what the world has lost due to the illness of addiction – mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends and loved ones.

“Addiction affects everyone. Whether it’s yourself personally, a family member, a friend or through your community, addiction can have devastating consequences. These impacts are not limited to our streets, as the majority of opioid overdose fatalities happen in private residences.

“Alberta’s government is committed to a full recovery-oriented system of care that helps Albertans live a healthy life.

“Recovery is so much more than simply ending substance use. It is also about rebuilding other aspects of life that eroded as a result of addiction, such as family, social, cultural and spiritual connections; employment skills and training; housing; physical and mental health; and more. The goal is for each person to lead a full, healthy life.

“Alberta’s government is making a variety of addiction services available. From fully funded treatment spaces to opioid agonist therapy to overdose prevention services, help is here throughout a person’s addiction and into recovery.

“The virtual opioid dependency program is also available to all Albertans across the province free of charge with no wait list. Increasing access to treatment and recovery will ensure more Albertans get the care they need sooner rather than later.

“To help reduce the risk of a fatal overdose, people are encouraged not to use substances alone and to have a naloxone kit available. Free naloxone kits can be obtained anonymously from more than 2,000 locations throughout Alberta.

“Please reach out for help if you need it. Anyone can visit RecoveryAccessAlberta.ca or call the confidential toll-free Addiction Helpline at 1-866-332-2322 for support to determine which service is best for each individual.

“On International Overdose Awareness Day and every day, let us each make an effort to extend compassion to those who need support.”