YUKON NDP DEMANDS IMMEDIATE ACTION ON SUBSTANCE USE
September 2, 2023
WHITEHORSE – The Yukon NDP is calling on the Liberals to take immediate action on International Overdose Awareness Day.
The Yukon Liberals’ “Substance Use Health Emergency Strategy,” released 18 months after the government declared a substance-use emergency, is in fact a list of recommendations — most of which have been recommended and promised for years, in earlier reports.
Last week’s document offers no timelines for Yukoners to hold the Liberals to account.
“The Liberals don’t seem to understand what ‘emergency’ means. They’ve done little to help Yukoners struggling with addiction in the 18 months since they declared a substance use emergency. They’re trying to slap a band-aid on this when what we really need is open-heart surgery,” Yukon NDP leader Kate White said.
The Yukon NDP calls for the following immediate actions:
- Make Safer Supply and Opioid Agonist Therapy accessible across the Yukon
- Decriminalize drug possession for personal use
- Increase funding for Yukoners to access treatment services in the South when options are not locally available
- Deliver steady, ample funding for front-line NGOs working to save lives on the ground.
“The Yukon has the highest rate of opioid-related death in Canada. The Liberals need to take action immediately. Things need to change, now,” White continued.
- The Yukon has had Canada’s highest per-capita death rate due to illicit drugs since November 2021, according to a report by chief coroner Heather Jones.
- The Yukon Liberal government declared a substance use emergency in January 2022. Several Yukon First Nations have declared their own substance use emergencies before and since.
- Coroner Jones confirmed 11 substance-abuse-related deaths between the new year and May 5, 2023. Eight of these deaths happened in under three weeks in April.