Alberta saw 167 opioid-related deaths in February, but it dropped to 122 in March and 113 in April. .British Columbia recorded almost 200 deaths from toxic illicit drugs in May, and the province will be on pace to lose a record number of people this year. .READ MORE: Nearly 200 British Columbians died from illegal drugs in May.It is a battle of the Rockies between Alberta and British Columbia for how drug overdoses are handled. Alberta succeeded because it has taken a recovery approach, and British Columbia is failing due to it prioritizing harm reduction. .Alberta adopted a recovery approach by creating a drug overdose prevention app in 2021. .READ MORE: Alberta government to test drug overdose prevention app.Called Digital Overdose Response System (DORS), the app is supposed to protect people using drugs while alone in their homes..“Among the first of its kind in Canada, the DORS app will help prevent opioid and other substance-related deaths by those using alone at home,” said former Alberta mental health and addictions associate minister Jason Luan. .“Launching this app is another important step in building a full recovery-oriented continuum of care for addiction treatment in the province.” .The app works by triggering a call from an emergency centre if a person becomes unresponsive to a timer. It offers information about recovery-oriented supports and services available in the area..Alberta helped drug addicts avoid overdoses by teaming up with police to offer opioid addiction treatment to people who have been arrested, with the most recent expansion being to Red Deer on July 20. .READ MORE: Alberta government partners with Red Deer police to offer addiction treatment.People who were arrested in various Alberta cities will be allowed to consult with an addictions physician if they need it. These cities have seen more than 400 people referred for an addiction medicine consultation, and most of them were able to start treatment prior to their release from custody..“Every Albertan deserves the opportunity to pursue recovery no matter who they are or where they interact with the system,” said Alberta Mental Health and Addictions Associate Minister Mike Ellis. .While British Columbia’s harm reduction approach sounds compassionate, it has led to people continuing in their addictions. These addicts have populated neighbourhoods and led to them becoming unsafe. .One example of a neighbourhood becoming more dangerous because of drug overdoses in the last few years is the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver. People shoot up drugs in the streets, drug dealers solicit out in the open, and incidents such as a woman being lit on fire happen. .British Columbia engaged in harm reduction through safe supply, becoming the first province in Canada to introduce such a measure in 2021. .The province is directing up to $22.6 million to health authorities over the next three years for this policy. This funding will support planning, phased implementation, and monitoring of safe supply programs. .“This is one tool within a comprehensive response to the overdose crisis as we continue to also build up a treatment system so everyone can get the care they need,” said British Columbia Mental Health and Addictions Minister Sheila Malcolmson. .“There is more to do, and we won’t stop working until we turn this crisis around.”.This policy does not work because it incentivizes drug addicts to continue using. They have access to another source to take drugs. .British Columbia announced in May it will decriminalize personal possession of illicit drugs for three years. .READ MORE: BC to decriminalize small possession of illicit drugs.British Columbians will be able to carry up to 2.5 grams of drugs such as opioids, methamphetamine, and cocaine without fearing criminal penalties..This exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act will be effective from Jan. 31, 2023 to Jan. 31, 2026, throughout the entire province..Politicians might say British Columbia’s drug decriminalization resembles what Portugal has done, but it is not the case. British Columbia is being more like Oregon. .While Portugal decriminalized drugs, sanctions can be applied for repeat offenders. These sanctions include fines, community service, and clawbacks on welfare benefits. .Oregon’s maximum penalty for drug use is a $100 fine. Drug addictions and overdoses have gone up. .Alberta’s success led to other provinces looking to it for guidance. By taking a recovery-oriented approach, Alberta has shown drug overdoses can be combated.