AHS launches new opioid awareness campaign

January 29, 2018

All Albertans encouraged to be partners in opioid response

CALGARY – Alberta Health Services (AHS) is launching a new province-wide opioid awareness campaign, including new train advertising wraps in Edmonton and Calgary, radio spots, and posters on post-secondary campuses, restaurants and bars.

Developed in partnership with the Government of Alberta, the campaign seeks to reduce harms and stigmas while increasing awareness of supports that can help reduce the tragic impact of opioids. It reflects input from families who have lost loved ones to an opioid overdose.

"We’re targeting this crisis by increasing access to opioid dependency treatment, naloxone kits and supervised consumption services,” says Brandy Payne, Associate Minister of Health. “This awareness campaign lets Albertans know about the things they can do to save lives.”

“The opioid crisis is impacting Albertans in all communities, from all walks of life and at all ages and stages. All Albertans have the power to reduce the harms associated with drug use,” says Kathryn Todd, AHS Vice President of Research, Innovation & Analytics and Community, Seniors and Addiction & Mental Health. “This campaign will encourage Albertans to learn about naloxone, rescue breathing and other harm reduction measures, preparing them to support friends and family who use drugs.”

The campaign will run through March 2018.

The province has opened thousands of new opioid dependency treatment spaces in Calgary, Edmonton and other communities throughout the province, connecting people with life-saving supports and wraparound supports.

More than 41,000 naloxone kits have been distributed in Alberta and more than 2,400 overdose reversals have been voluntarily reported. This doesn’t include overdose reversals performed by fire fighters, police officers and other first responders.

Alberta is providing capital and operating funding to six sites to offer supervised consumption services in Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge. In the first two months of a temporary consumption site, the Sheldon Chumir Health Centre in Calgary reversed 55 overdoses and was visited by 2,551 clients. Permanent supervised consumption services opened earlier this month at the Chumir centre, which also supports the treatment of 664 opioid-dependent clients each year.

Albertans can also find current opioid supports and information online, 24/7, on AHS' dedicated website, drugsafe.ca.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

Interesting Facts: AHS Opioid Awareness Campaign

  • Representatives from 31 organizations were invited to sessions that informed the development of the campaign.
  • The campaign was tested in four focus groups featuring Albertans from all walks of life from rural and urban Alberta, with varying degrees of awareness of the opioid crisis.
  • Campaign development and advertising costs: $691,347.50.

Advertising Buy Scope:

  • Radio – FM radio advertising in 23 markets around Alberta, as well as streaming services including Spotify;
  • Online/Social Media – will deliver more than 10 million impressions across Alberta, using dozens of different live and static executions;
  • Transit – Edmonton and Calgary transit posters and train takeovers;
  • Billboards – 40 billboards in seven major markets around Alberta (urban & rural);
  • Post-secondary Campuses – posters/advertising at 19 campuses around Alberta;
  • Restaurants/Bars – 140+ locations, around Alberta – posters & full washroom takeovers.

Creative file access (available until February 2, 2018):

For media inquiries, contact:

Shannon M. Shimek
AHS Communications

Brent Wittmeier
Press Secretary, Health