Yukon NDP celebrates managed alcohol program announcement

WHITEHORSE, YT – The Yukon NDP celebrated another healthcare win for Yukoners Wednesday, Jan. 31, following the release of details about Whitehorse’s managed alcohol program (MAP).

The MAP was a condition of NDP support for the Yukon Liberals’ minority government through the parties’ 2023 Confidence and Supply Agreement (CASA). A walk-in medical clinic was opened in Whitehorse earlier this Winter, as per CASA.

“Medical experts in Whitehorse have been calling for a managed alcohol program for years. The Liberals didn’t take action when they were elected seven years ago, or in 2021, so I made them commit last year,” NDP Leader Kate White said Wednesday.

“The residential program the Liberals is a start. We know its eight beds won’t be enough to meet Yukoners’ needs, and Whitehorse still needs a more accessible drop-in program,” White added.

NDP health critic Annie Blake noted that MAPs have demonstrably curbed non-beverage alcohol consumption and alcohol withdrawal related injuries and death in 21 Canadian cities, according to the University of Victoria’s Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research.

“This is a step toward the evidence-based, harm-reduction approach we want to see more of, especially given that we’re two years into a substance use emergency,” Blake said.