November – MLA Dave Rodney’s Report

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Albertan Students and the Opioid Crisis:

People across the province tell me that it is crucial for age-appropriate information be taught about the opioid overdose crisis in the Alberta curriculum. A recent story from BC examined what resources are available within schools to teach students about their crisis; but there was no information on Alberta—which underlined the need for a comprehensive strategy to teach students the dangers of opioids—at age appropriate levels. As a United Conservative Advocate for Education, Post-Secondary Education, Indigenous Relations, and Wellness, I fully support immediately investigating the implementation of curriculum on the drug crisis. My colleagues and I believe our school system must be a safe space for students to learn about the dangers of the opioid crisis that Alberta continues to grapple with. If providing information within the school setting on the dangers of fentanyl can save even one life, it’s worth it. Our caucus proposes that the government collaborate with health, education, and law enforcement professionals—along with other provinces—to develop modules on the opioid epidemic, while ensuring harm-reduction, prevention, and awareness initiatives are taught. The more information students are equipped with, the more likely they are to understand the lethal nature of fentanyl and other opioids. It’s a life and death issue.

Connections with Alberta Families:

Constituents continue to tell me that as Alberta families went back to school this fall, the disconnect between government policies and the harmful effect on students and parents is becoming more and more apparent. Worried parents have been left grappling with the consequences of Bill 1—with families bracing for far-away bus stops, terrible commutes, and uncertainty around programs of choice. Many students are dealing with the consequences of government policy—with some travelling on half-a-dozen different busses a day—just to get to and from school. When Bill 1 was introduced in the Legislature this spring, I warned government about the impact it would have on families every day. Coupled with the extra carbon tax costs, many families are in difficult situations. Our caucus continues to hear loud and clear from Albertan families who say they are worse off under these policies; and that if the government was listening, they would stop introducing policies that are hurting students and their families.

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