Addictions and Homelessness
Whereas drug and alcohol abuse and addiction rates are substantially increasing in communities, leading to increases in deaths, violent crime, property crime, drug offenses and homelessness, resulting in increased strain on Emergency Responders; and
Whereas it is difficult to combat the root causes of addictions, mental health, and homelessness; and
Whereas municipalities have limited resources and financial capacity to address the local consequences of these issues; and
Whereas the Government of Saskatchewan is responsible for the disposition of justice, health, and social services resources;
Therefore be it resolved that SUMA advocate the Government of Saskatchewan to provide leadership in order to break the cycle of problematic drug, alcohol, addictions and homelessness issues by coordinating provincial ministries, police services, community agencies, and Indigenous organizations and governments in order to ensure effective, evidence-based responses that address all of these issues; and
Be it further resolved that SUMA advocate the Government of Saskatchewan to increase drug, alcohol, addictions and homelessness funding for organizations and agencies in municipalities so as to ensure financial resources are in place to implement measures that will help to address this growing crisis.
ACTS AFFECTED: None
REGION/SECTOR AFFECTED: All
JUN 2 8 2022
Our File: 22-841
Randy Goulden President, SUMA (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thank you for your letter of April 26, 2022, informing us of the resolutions adopted at the 117th Annual SUMA Convention. We also acknowledge the questions raised by SUMA members and appreciate having this opportunity to respond.
Resolution 2202-07 Addictions and Homelessness
Our government is committed to improving mental health and addictions services for Saskatchewan citizens. In 2022-23, we are investing a record total of $470 million for mental health and addictions services. This accounts for 7.3 per cent of the Ministry of Health's total budget with $403 million directed to mental health and $67 million to addictions.
Targeted investments in the 2022-23 Provincial Budget include enhanced access to mental health and addictions counselling through Family Services Saskatchewan, advancement of prevention and mental health promotion measures through the Mental Health Capacity Building in schools initiative, and additional mental health and addictions treatment spaces.
In 2022-23, $6 million has been allocated for the operation of 77 residential support beds for individuals with intensive mental health needs who are transitioning from a hospital or acute care setting to the community. These beds, which were first funded in 2019-20, are located in Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, and North Battleford. The services offered through this investment will help in reducing the use of emergency departments, police involvement, community shelters, as well as dedicated mental health beds in hospitals.
We are committed to providing a continuum of alcohol and drug services throughout the province to ensure individuals can access services at the right place and the right time. In the 2021Speech from the Throne, our government committed to introducing 150 new treatment spaces over the next three years as a direct response to current addictions treatment waitlists. In 2022-23, $2.1 million has been directed to meet this commitment. Efforts to determine the locations and operations of these new spaces are ongoing.
In 2018, the federal government announced the Emergency Treatment Fund (ETF) to support the improvement of treatment services for problematic substance use issues across the country. As of 2022, the Ministry of Health has made investments to improve the treatment and services available to individuals who use substances. Investments include:
- the introduction of trauma-informed practice education within the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) for treatment of substance use disorders;
- implementation of Opioid Substitution Therapy, addictions counselling, and community resource navigation through the Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine (RAAM) clinics in Regina, Saskatoon, and Prince Albert;
- recruitment, training, and mentorship regarding Opioid Substitution Therapy through the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan, as well as the Continuing Professional Development for Pharmacy Professionals Program; and,
- dedicated resources and training within the SHA for the treatment of patients who use crystal methamphetamine
Paul Merriman, Minister of Health
Everett Hindley, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors and Rural and Remote Health