Drug court, increased treatment options among strategies to address Saskatoon drug crisis
The City of Saskatoon’s police and fire departments, along with other agencies, are coming together to address the growing crisis of crystal meth and opioids.
According to the city, it’s the largest ever coordinated effort in Saskatoon to address safety concerns.
“Now is the time for leadership at all levels to work together,” said Mayor Charlie Clark, who said he hopes the community can rise to the challenge.
The Community Safety and Well-being Partners group includes: Central Urban Métis Federation Inc., City of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Health Authority, Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Saskatoon Board of Police Commissioners, Saskatoon Fire Department, Saskatoon Police Services, Saskatoon Tribal Council, and the University of Saskatchewan.
The city says from 2017 to 2019, the Saskatoon Fire Department has seen a tripling in their administration of naloxone treatment at overdose incidents. Saskatoon Police Service is seeing a yearly increase in mental health calls, many directly linked to crystal meth use.
Saskatoon has recorded 14 homicides so far in 2019, a record all-time high.
The Safe Community Action Alliance, which includes 35 agencies, is expected to release a report next month on the effects of crystal meth in the city which includes 24 recommendations.
The Partners group has endorsed the report and agreed to immediately begin work on four actions:
- Establish a drug court in Saskatoon
- Create crystal meth and fentanyl-specific treatment options
- Create more 24/7 safe places for youth
- Establish a more coordinated system of outreach services