The Hidden Impact of the Calgary Opioid Crisis: Unraveling the Crisis

The Calgary opioid crisis: a silent tragedy claiming lives and tearing families apart. Sheer devastation unfolding in the heart of Alberta.

The Unseen Ravages of the Opioid Crisis in Calgary, Alberta

Canada’s opioid crisis is a mounting concern that has claimed thousands of lives and had a devastating impact across the country, including on the city of Calgary. This escalating public health emergency extends further, affecting families, frontline workers, healthcare systems, and entire communities. Today, we discuss the acute challenges posed by the Calgary opioid crisis and the measures implemented to combat it.

The Opioid Crisis: A Canadian Epidemic

The opioid crisis is an exceptionally prevalent issue in Canada. In 2018 alone, it was reported that 4,588 Canadians died from apparent opioid-related causes, with Western Canada, including Calgary, accounting for the highest hospitalization rates due to opioid poisonings. During COVID-19, Calgary’s opioid crisis has become even worse, with reports of increasing overdoses and deaths.

An Individual Perspective: The Tragedy of Chris

The article takes us on a journey through the tragic story of Chris, a Calgary resident who was a victim of the Calgary opioid crisis. His experience underscores the true toll of this issue, offering a first-person account of the human-scale devastation brought by opioids. His story, while individual, represents the collective ordeal that thousands of families in Calgary and throughout Canada face.

Struggling with homelessness and addiction, Chris found elusive comfort in street drugs as he navigated through life’s hardships. Unfortunately, the joy was short-lived. Unknowingly exposed to an opioid-laced batch of drugs, Chris ended his battle at the young age of 38. To further underscore the crisis, Chris was one of 449 recorded deaths from opioid poisoning in Alberta in the first half of 2020 alone, emphasizing the magnitude and severity of the opioid pandemic.

The impact of the opioid crisis extends beyond Chris and the countless other individuals who have lost their lives. It wreaks havoc within families, forcing loved ones to endure inconsolable loss, and bears heavily on the wider community. As the article reports, in addition to skyrocketing fatalities, the crisis is associated with a significant increase in nonfatal overdoses and related hospital visits.

Combatting the Opioid Crisis: Calgary’s Response

Amid the devastation, dedicated individuals, organizations, and the government have been employing diverse strategies to tackle the opioid crisis. Key efforts include:

  • Promoting access to naloxone, a drug that can rapidly reverse an opioid overdose.
  • Providing safe consumption sites to prevent overdoses and connect users to addiction treatment services.
  • Increasing funding and resources for addiction treatment and mental health services.
  • Formulating a structured Canadian opioid abatement class action lawsuit against multiple pharmaceutical companies for promoting opioids amid lack of disclosure of associated risks.

While these actions represent a positive step forward, there are calls for even more drastic measures, including greater awareness, more comprehensive treatment services, and better control measures for opioids.


The extent of the Calgary opioid crisis continues to spiral, taking a profound toll on individuals, families, and communities alike. Yet, the resilient spirit of Calgary is evident in the measures underway to battle this health emergency. While the battle is far from over, increased awareness, compassion, and collective action could go a long way in combatting the crisis—and potentially saving many lives.

As civic and community leaders, it is incumbent upon us to prioritize resources and strategies to effectively address this urgent issue, to not only manage but to ultimately end the opioid crisis. This entails a comprehensive approach that spans preventing opioid misuse, treating individuals experiencing opioid addiction, and supporting the recovery of those affected.

As we reflect on the tragedies of those like Chris, let us be reminded of the imperative need to come together to fight against the opioid crisis. By doing so, we may pave the way towards a future where no Calgarian and indeed no Canadian, has to suffer the devastating loss brought about by the opioid crisis.


Contact Us:

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Scroll to Top