The Ongoing Opioid Crisis in Canada: A Look at Maskwacis, Alberta

The Ongoing Opioid Crisis in Canada: A Look at Maskwacis, Alberta

In an effort to delve deeper into the ongoing opioid crisis in Canada, [CBC News reports]( on the devastating impact this health calamity is having on the indigenous community of Maskwacis in Alberta. The surprising death rate, the struggle to access the essential Naloxone kits, and the efforts of the community to come to grips with this crisis offer a grim tableau of the struggle faced by many communities in our nation.

Surging Death Rates Due to Opioids

The increasing overdose deaths have brutally affected Maskwacis. In 2021, the community lost 14 members, essentially doubling the previous year’s numbers. Statistics show that Maskwacis, with a population of 17,000, has a death rate from opioids that is seven times higher than the rest of the province. This devastating reality is a stark reminder of how deeply entrenched the opioid crisis is within indigenous communities.

The Battle for Accessibility to Naloxone

Naloxone, a vital emergency medication that can quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, has been challenging for Maskwacis to source. Access has been inordinately hard due to bureaucracy, coupled with the fact that use of opioids is often stigmatized. Despite the Alberta Health Services distributing more than 5,000 kits to deal with the increase in opioid-related cases in 2021, Maskwacis community members still face hurdles in obtaining these lifesaving kits.

Key Points

  • Maskwacis’ death rate from opioids is seven times higher than the rest of Alberta, showing a disproportionate impact on indigenous communities.
  • Bureaucratic hurdles and stigma have made it significantly challenging for the community members of Maskwacis to access Naloxone kits.
  • The community is working towards opioid class action, seeking compensation from drug manufacturers and distributors to assist in addressing the fallouts of the crisis.
  • Ignoring the opioid crisis leads to a surge in homelessness and crime as consequences of addiction remain unchecked.

The Push for an Opioid Class Action

In another key development in Canada’s widespread opioid crisis, the community of Maskwacis is in the process of joining a national opioid class action. The aim is to seek compensation from pharmaceutical companies that manufacture and distribute opioids. This compensation will help them in dealing with the manifold repercussions of the crisis – from increasing homelessness to surging crime rates.

Overhauling the Approach: A Community-focused Effort

In the face of this heart-wrenching crisis, Maskwacis is adopting a community-focused approach. Outreach workers organize safe injection sites, run education programs, and distribute at-home drug testing kits. However, the community acknowledges that it is only a part of the solution. An overarching policy change and a collective will are necessary to alleviate the scourge of opioid addiction.


The tragic epidemic of opioid abuse is devastating communities across Canada. A mix of proactive local initiatives, broader policy changes, and concerted efforts to combat stigma are paramount to addressing this crisis. Maskwacis’ struggles and survival strategies underscore the urgency to act. Whether this will prompt a nationwide sea-change remains a looming question.

While we continue to grapple with the complexities of the opioid crisis, it goes without saying that the road to recovery is long and brimming with challenges. Indeed, the fight against opioids is not just a battle against a health crisis, but also a fight for social justice. The issues surrounding Naloxone’s accessibility and the stigmatization of opioid use underscore this reality. Until all Canadians, no matter their circumstance or locale, can access the necessary help and resources to address this crisis, we will continue to mourn.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top