EDMONTON – POLITICS – Alberta’s Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Mike Ellis issued the following statement on the settlement reached with Purdue Pharma (Canada):
“We are committed to holding opioid manufacturers, distributers and marketers accountable for their role in the opioid crisis, which continues to have devastating impacts on Albertans.
“Following the announcement this morning in BC, Alberta’s government recognizes the historic settlement reached with Purdue Pharma (Canada) (“Purdue Canada”). As part of the settlement, Purdue Canada has agreed to provide $150 million to federal, provincial and territorial governments.
“We support this proposed settlement and will continue to cooperate with Purdue Canada in the months to come.
“Like the rest of Canada, Alberta is in the midst of an addiction crisis. The roots of the crisis began years ago, with the high rate of opioid prescriptions for acute and chronic pain. Many of these drugs were diverted into our communities, ending up in the hands of people who would later suffer from addiction.
“That’s why in 2019, Alberta passed the Opioid Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Actto join federal, provincial and territorial governments in a class-action lawsuit to recover health-care costs resulting from the wrong and inappropriate actions of companies involved in the manufacture and distribution of opioids.
“Today’s settlement is the largest for a government health claim in Canadian history. We are committed to ensuring that Alberta’s portion of the settlement will be re-invested into funding more mental health and addiction services.
“Too many Albertans continue to lose their lives to addiction. April 2022 marked the second consecutive month of declining opioid deaths in Alberta, which decreased 34 per cent since the peak in November. While this is encouraging news, we still have a long way to go.
“The Alberta Model of care helps people suffering from addiction by providing holistic and personalized services, from prevention and intervention to treatment and recovery. As part of our recovery-oriented system of care, we’ve doubled publicly funded addiction treatment spaces in the province and eliminated user fees so that anyone can access treatment for free.
“Our goal is to give every Albertan living with an addiction the opportunity to pursue recovery and get the help they need.”