Yukon NDP urges the government to deliver more than words to fight opioid crisis

Whitehorse – The government has announced a substance use emergency in the territory. While the Yukon NDP welcomes this long-awaited announcement, we are waiting to see what concrete, new action will come out of this.

“Folks across the Yukon have been demanding that government take action for years. Our territory needs more than just words. People need mental health support. They need counseling. Until the government finally listens and provides actual support to grieving families and Yukoners struggling with addiction, nothing will change for the people who need it most.”

– Annie Blake, MLA for Vuntut Gwitchin

Where government has consistently failed, parents, elders, families and community leaders have been advocating and supporting countless Yukoners, day after day. We recognize the hard work that’s been done in the community, by the community. It’s time for the government to finally do the work they’ve avoided doing.

“The Yukon NDP urges the government to deploy more resources to address this crisis. Having a safe supply of opioids available everywhere in the Yukon will prevent overdoses and save lives. The government also needs to expand drug testing options and counselling services across the territory. These would be life-savings measures.”

– Kate White, leader of the Yukon NDP

The Yukon NDP urges the government to immediately:

  • Expand the availability of safe supply of opioids everywhere in the Yukon.
  • Make nasal naloxone free and widely available in the Yukon
  • Work with rural communities and First Nations to establish tailored solutions for drug testing and supervised consumption outside of Whitehorse where needed.
  • Decriminalize the personal use of drugs.
  • Offer a spectrum of care that includes prevention, withdrawal management, effective inpatient and outpatient treatment, and prescription therapies such as methadone and suboxone.
  • Develop a solution for a land-based treatment centre, accessible to all Yukoners.
  • Increase bed availability at the Sarah Steele Detox Centre and reduce the barriers rural Yukon residents face in accessing treatment.
  • Address root causes of drug use. Drug use is deeply related to trauma, physical and emotional pain, isolation, mental illness and a range of other personal challenges. These roots issues need to be addressed via mental health services, counseling and support at all levels of the community, including in schools.
  • Implement a live-in managed alcohol program.

Read the detailed response to the press release here.