The NDP says more money needs to be invested into harm reduction strategies if the province ever hopes to curb its opioid crisis.
NDP Mental Health and Addictions Critic Doyle Vermette says it’s disappointing to see the government ignore the cries of many.
“The alarm bells are going off, and you have a government who seems like, for some reason, they’re not responding and they’re not answering to it,” said Vermette. “It’s very disappointing this government could not find $1.3 million in such a large budget. It just doesn’t make any sense, and it’s shocking. Families are not happy about it.”
Since January of this year, over 100 people have lost their lives to fatal overdoses in the province.
Health and Addictions Minister Everett Hindley says the province actually invested more into mental health and harm reduction strategies than ever before.
He adds the government knows overdoses are a serious issue in Saskatchewan.
“The challenge is that this is something that is faced in so many communities across the province. We’re all aware of stories across this province, whether it’s urban or rural,” said Hindley. “This is why we’ve invested more money into investments that we believe will help save lives across Saskatchewan.”
According to Hindley, some of the province’s increased funding is going towards additional treatment beds, mobile harm-reduction clinics, and Naloxone kit training.
Vermette says he understands the crisis isn’t going to be solved overnight, but people are dying while the province decides whether to take action.
“We’re supposed to do better, we’re supposed to take care of our neighbours, our government’s supposed to take care of the residents, the most vulnerable,” said Vermette. “It’s the decent and the right thing to do. Today, and many days, will be sad for families who lose their loved ones to an overdose. Shame on the government.