‘Always more we can do’ Minister of Addictions on overdose deaths

Last year marked another increase in overdose deaths in Saskatchewan.

According to the Saskatchewan Coroners Service, there were 225 confirmed overdose deaths with 239 suspected overdose deaths, bringing the total to 464.

“These are tragic numbers, they are heartbreaking, and they are devasting for families, for communities across this province to see these sorts of statistics,” said Everett Hindley, the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.

“We need to try and provide as much support to people as we can,” he continued. “Whether that’s through making sure we provide harm reduction to folks but also lining them up with a treatment that’s made available for them.”

Though the province has made numerous investments into harm reduction and supports in communities all over the province, Hindley said more can always be done.

“We know that we’ve made some significant investments into harm reduction, into mental health and addiction services in this province, but we know that there is more work to be done, and we are committed to this having this continue to be a priority for the Government of Saskatchewan as we try to help our communities and our families through this.”

Hindley said that the pandemic has led to an increase in overdoses and affected the Government’s ability to provide some of their investments.

“It’s led to supply chain issues; it’s made it difficult to procure certain devices and equipment,” he noted. “I think more importantly it’s also created that additional stress on people’s lives and has, in my views, added to part of the challenges that we face now. I think that’s evident just by looking at statistics.”

2021’s total marks the fifth consecutive year the province has seen an increase in overdose deaths. In 2020 there were 327 deaths, with 2019 seeing only 179.

More from Play92