Alberta Joining B.C. In Class Action Lawsuit Against Opioid Manufacturers And Distributors

Alberta is joining British Columbia in the fight against opioid manufacturers and distributors.

The province announced Tuesday it plans to participate in a proposed class action – filed in BC – to recoup the costs of opioids

Last year, there were nearly 800 fatal-opioid related overdoses and 4,200 calls to emergency services in Alberta.

Speaking to reporters, Minister of Health Tyler Shandro says they are doing their part to hold those accountable who are responsible for the wave of opioid addiction.

“There’s some reason for optimism but there’s still lots of work to be done. Suing the opioid companies won’t change the crisis we’re in today but holding them accountable is the right thing to do and any damages awarded will save lives in the future by funding more health and addiction services.”

The action is on behalf of all levels of government and agencies, that have paid healthcare and other costs related to opioids from 1996 to the present.

Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Jason Luan says the overall costs of opioid addiction are impossible to quantify.

“Losing a son, a daughter, a parent, a friend, a neighbour – cannot be calculated. But we do know Alberta has paid tremendous costs through our healthcare and criminal justice systems in dealing with this crisis.”

Alberta is also looking to develop legislation that will allow the province to recover health-care costs on an aggregate, rather than an individual basis, using population based-evidence.

Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer says it is their mandate to ensure Albertans are safe, secure and protected.

“To really ensure our communities are protected from harm, we must not just watch out for individual crimes but also large entities that pose a threat to our health, safety and peddle in misery and human despair.”

The province adds it’s committing $140 million to improve mental health and addiction care in the province – with $40 million specifically for opioid response.

They are also creating 4,000 more publicly funded treatment spaces so more Albertans can access addiction treatment.

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