Yukon supervised consumption locations now allow smoking


Illicit drug users can now smoke their substances at a supervised drug consumption site in Whitehorse, one of the first in Canada to allow indoor inhalation, the Yukon government announced today. Monday.

A new room with upgraded ventilation has been added to the facility, the only one in Yukon, to open in 2021 to provide services like drug testing and access to the overdose medication naloxone.

A statement from Bronte Renwick-Shields, executive director of the Blood Ties Four Directions Center, which supports the site’s expansion, said snuff is one of the most common methods among drug users. in the Yukon and it is important that the services provided reflect the needs of the community.

Health Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee said the site was a key part of Yukon’s response to the substance use health emergency declared in January.

In January, Dr Catherine Elliott, the health department’s acting chief medical officer, reported 23 poison deaths in 2021, a 475% increase from 2019.

Statistics released last year showed that the territory with the highest rate of opioid overdose deaths per capita was Canada at 48.4 per 100,000 people.

Annie Blake, member of the Vuntut Gwitchin legislature, welcomes Whitehorse’s upgrades, saying all drug poisoning deaths are preventable and she looks forward to expanding the reduction services harm reduction in rural areas.

Yukon’s supervised dispensary does not provide drugs for public use. Instead, it provides a safe place for people to consume their own medicine with trained health professionals ready if needed, the government said.

In British Columbia, Island Health says six of its supervised consumption sites allow smoking in weather-protected facilities.

Sites in Victoria, Cowichan, Port Alberni, Campbell River and Nanaimo have structures with heating and ventilation systems, a government spokesman said.

When Island Health announced last October it was opening a temporary site in Victoria to allow people to inhale their drugs, it said data from the province’s investigative service showed smoking was the method most popular among people consuming illegal drugs as of 2017.

This Canadian Press report was first published on May 30, 2022.

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