A new report from the Saskatchewan Coroners Service shows the province is continuing to deal with a deadly drug crisis.
The report says 395 deaths associated with drug use have happened so far in 2023.
Regina has experienced the most with 88, followed by Saskatoon with 47 deaths.
“At this rate, we will surpass the record number of deaths of 2021 of 403. These are real Saskatchewan people, whose lives matter,” NDP MLA Vicki Mowat said.
To address the issue, the Saskatchewan Government says they have invested nearly $50 million over a five-year plan to address the issue. More spaces will also be available.
“We are making it easier for individuals to access those treatment spaces and when they’re in treatment we’re focused on a recovery oriented system of care,” Minister of Health and Addictions Tim McLeod said.
The Nēwo-Yōtina Friendship Centre is a facility focused on harm reduction. The centre has an overdose prevention, as well as a Fourier-transform infrared spectrometer, which can identify if drugs included dangerous substances.
“If someone overdoses, or someone has a medical problem, we can figure out the overdose and reverse it as soon as possible before any damage happens,” said Emile Gariepy, the Harm Reduction Manager of Nēwo-Yōtina Friendship Centre.
The use of the machine is another step towards keeping everyone, and any findings of dangerous substances are posted on a wall in the Centre to warn users what to avoid.
Both Regina and Saskatoon lead in deaths, but according to the report deaths are scattered across Saskatchewan.
“The overdoses don’t just happen in this area. It happens everywhere- country, big houses, small houses, the street,” said Tammy Huget, the Community Programs Manager of Nēwo-Yōtina Friendship Centre.