The Saskatchewan Coroners Service published their results for deaths from drug toxicity in 2021, and there was a triple-digit increase in overdose deaths from the previous record.
They attributed 464 deaths last year to confirmed or suspected drug overdoses.
2020's 327 overdose deaths (including 319 confirmed and eight still considered suspected) was the previous record. There were 179 overdose deaths in 2019.
In 2021, 225 of the deaths are confirmed as overdoses, while 239 are suspected.
There have been two confirmed deaths from drug toxicity in Estevan since 2013, according to the report. One was in 2020, and was attributed to fentanyl and acetylfentanyl. The other was in 2018 and was attributed to fentanyl.
Regina had the most confirmed deaths the last two years, while Saskatoon had the second most. Regina had 143 in 2020 and 111 in 2021. Saskatoon had 73 in 2020 and 61 in 2021. The highest single-year total in any other listed location was Prince Albert with 11 in 2020.
The executive director of Saskatoon's supervised injection site, Jason Mercredi, said in an interview with Global News that part of the increase is due to deadlier drugs, such as fentanyl. And part is due to inadequate funding from the province.
Meanwhile, the Correctional Service of Canada announced that it is making changes to help prisoners addicted to opioids get quicker access to treatment.