Saskatchewan is currently facing down an addiction crisis that has cut like a scythe through our communities and we have yet to take the kind of bold action needed to save lives.
Meara and the NDP Opposition believe that the ongoing overdose and addiction crises must be addressed as a public health emergency. This strategy must include investments in treatment so that it is available as soon as people are motivated to tackle their addictions and harm reduction initiatives as a stop gap measure to assist people in getting the supports they need. This approach would not only reduce pain and suffering, but harm reduction measures, like safe consumption sites, result in incredible savings for the healthcare system, and make our communities safer overall.
Saskatchewan saw 264 confirmed deaths by overdose in 2020, smashing the 2019 record.
So far in 2021, we’re already at over 100 deaths; up over 20% from last year. Despite the situation is only worsening, the Sask Party government failed to provide funding to safe consumption sites looking to operate in Saskatoon and Regina in this recent 2021 budget. The absence of support for safe consumption sites is not only a missed opportunity to save lives and resources, and it is an abdication of leadership.