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Yukon coroner Heather Jones

Government responds to latest opioids deaths

The territorial government has responded to a statement from Yukon coroner Heather Jones with a reminder of its past initiatives on the opioids crisis.

By Whitehorse Star on February 25, 2021

The territorial government has responded to a statement from Yukon coroner Heather Jones with a reminder of its past initiatives on the opioids crisis.

Late last week, Jones issued a news release stating three people have died from fentanyl overdoses in the Yukon since mid-January.

A fourth death is under investigation, but is believed to be related to a drug overdose as well.

The territory has seen 36 opioid-related deaths since 2016.

“The opioid overdose crisis continues to be one of the most serious public health crises in Canada’s recent history,” a statement from the government reads.

“The Government of Yukon is working with our community partners to expand drug-checking capacity in the territory, and to remind people not to use alone and to keep naloxone kits on hand.

“Additional funding has been provided to Blood Ties Four Directions to increase drug testing availability through the outreach van from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. seven days a week, including statutory holidays,” the government added.

“Drug testing services are also available at the Blood Ties office on Ogilvie Street. Expanded hours began January 31, 2021.”

The release also states the government is continuing to look at what establishing a “safer supply” chain would entail.

“Safe supply programs have been rolled out in other jurisdictions, and have demonstrated effectiveness in mitigating the effects of a toxic drug supply. The federal government, the Canadian Public Health Association and 95 per cent of our harm reduction community agree: Yukon should explore safer supply.”

“The recent opioid-related deaths are a tragic reminder that fentanyl continues to present a very real danger in our communities,” Pauline Frost, the minister of Health and Social Services, said in the release.

“It is time to rally around our communities, our friends, our neighbours and family members who need our support.

“We need to be compassionate and supportive, while working together to end the stigma around drug use and addiction,” Frost added.

“If I have only one message, it would be to tell people not to use alone and to have a naloxone kit available.”

The four pillars of the Yukon’s opioid strategy, released in November 2018, are:

• Harm reduction and take-home naloxone kits;

• Public awareness and education;

• Opioid surveillance; and

• Opioid pain management.

Yukoners continue to have access to drug testing services through Blood Ties Four Directions at its location on Oglivie Street and through the outreach van.

Last month, Blood Ties expanded its drug testing hours through the outreach van until 9:30 p.m., seven days a week, including holidays.

“Blood Ties Four Directions Centre has advocated for enacting a safe supply program in the Yukon for many years, including submitting a petition to the Yukon government asking for the implementation of safe supply in the summer of 2020,” said Brontë Renwick-Shields, the executive director of Blood Ties.

“We are very pleased to hear that the Yukon government is considering such a system and hope that the implementation process will move quickly as this is a much-needed resource in our community and will save many lives.”

Comments (13)

Up 8 Down 1

Yukoner on Mar 3, 2021 at 11:29 am

@ Rey, I took your recommendation and watched that documentary.

This is exactly what is being allowed in downtown Whitehorse. SO much money is being wasted on "help." Without a comprehensive mental health component and expectation of accountability, Zombieland downtown is only going to get worse. And HSS is leading them there by the hand. Is it humane or dignified to leave people out there on their own with mental health and addictions issues, and hope one day they'll decide they want help? That's the wishful thinking of someone who really doesn't understand the cycle of addiction.

Last time I checked, it's still illegal to drink alcohol, vandalize, break and enter, harass, sell and do drugs in public. The cops don't bother arresting anyone anymore, and why would they, when charges don't stick. Maybe the most compassionate thing to do is actually follow through with charges and hope to begin rehabilitation while in jail.

Up 6 Down 1

Non-Boomer, Boomer Defence Corp. - Yukon Chapter, Full Patch Member, Whitehorse Division on Mar 2, 2021 at 3:47 pm

@ Suzie Q - What would you change about June’s message if you were to make it more Millennial’ish?

I know. I would probably add something about Social Media and the damage that it is doing to young people: Experiments have demonstrated a 15 IQ point loss with pervasive use of technology - The age of interruption and distraction - Declines greater than if you had smoked a joint. Not only that we now have evidence of structural brain changes due to technology use. These include changes to the executive function of the brain. Looks like boomer, hippy, stoners were smarter after all.

But hey you keep on judging you beautiful ageists! I wonder what other sort of isms you engage in? Nice, not.

Up 2 Down 12

Suzie on Mar 1, 2021 at 4:47 pm

@ June
Pushers? Maryjane? Okay, boomer.

Up 14 Down 10

Josey Wales on Feb 27, 2021 at 7:49 am

“Blood Ties Four Directions Centre has advocated for enacting a safe supply program in the Yukon for many years, including submitting a petition to the Yukon(**LIBERAL) government asking for the implementation of safe supply in the summer of 2020,” said Brontë Renwick-Shields, the executive director of Blood Ties."

**OJW insert
Yes indeed, precisely why they should be completely defunded and put a "government mandate" "indefinite" to aid they & their sycophants relocating to ... Portland PROPER.

Yet (non JUNKIES) folks cannot move/breathe without STATE meddling?
Up for a defund, down if you are a progressive with serious SERIOUS cognitive dissonance issues.
This NGO has done too well in their wealth redistribution Ponzi scheme...gotta stop.
This NGO has enabled bad life decisions and (aided) in destroying this community with their progressive agenda...like good SJW foot soldiers.
Divide and Conquer Liberal policies, enabled well with SJW NGO's many at a time.
Time our community identifies these tactics, time our community makes YLP, the CLP AND BTFDC politically irrelevant and create an exodus of stupid.

Then should be easy to park in town, buy a house, keep things that belong to you, greatly reduce the "uninvited house guest" scenario...in general.
Have some peace and some normalcy to douche the taste of Gaslighting!

Up 19 Down 4

Juniper Jackson on Feb 26, 2021 at 7:43 pm

As long as there is a market, there will be well paid sellers. That's how it works. Somehow addicts got rebranded to "diseased", implying that they can't help it, and they can't do anything about it either. Help? yeah but, I've got a disease. Parents? They start it going.. 'ok, you be careful at this party. We know you're going to do drugs. All kids do drugs, curiosity is natural. You just call us if you get coked up or roll a maryjane cut with fentanyl just call us. My dad said, if this is at that party you get out of there and call us to come get you. If you want it? Don't come home again. I've heard of parents doing dope with their kids.
The government will never pass legislation that provides harsh sentences for possession. Every party likes a voter that is easily mallable and compliant. My solution? Send pushers away for min. 25 years before they are eligible for parole, and make using, mandatory rehab you don't leave until you are dried up. 3 strikes and the user can go to prison too. And, i don't want the junkies encouraged by injection sites and free drugs. I want them encouraged to be ...everything they can be.

Up 14 Down 2

Rey D on Feb 26, 2021 at 3:17 pm

Please watch "The Fight for the Soul of Seattle | A KOMO News Documentary" to understand the effects of these policies of "compassion". This is not the way.


Up 37 Down 4

Moose101 on Feb 26, 2021 at 5:42 am

Something isn’t right here, used to be if you where caught in possession of any drug even 1 marijuana joint you were charged with possession of a illegal drug and charged, giving you a criminal record . Now you can be in possession of a much more deadly illegal drugs get it tested for purity and then go inject it and not be charged with anything (something is wrong here).

Up 41 Down 5

Mike on Feb 25, 2021 at 7:32 pm

This Government is really desperate - are you serious we need a safe injection site, this is the dumbest idea ever. You know what we need is the Yukon Territory to keep its uniqueness and not have something they have in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, etc., nobody wants to come to the Yukon to see a bunch of wired out junkies walking around. Stop catering to these types of people and getting the tax payers to flip the bill. Get off your asses and do something with these people besides keep costing us money.
I understand why the liberals are so fond of these types because they have zero accountability just like the liberals. We have a jail 3 times bigger then what you need up here that costs us half a billion a year to run. We have a homeless shelter that is basically a government run crack shack. Now let's build and supply a safe injection site.

Up 9 Down 17

Richard Smith on Feb 25, 2021 at 5:12 pm

This article exploring various approaches to combating addictions leaves out a very important area - the spiritual side.
Our Creator made us both body and spirit and connecting them through prayer and teaching gives a hope and purpose for life.
Teen Challenge has this approach and claim a success rate in conquering addictions of over 50% of those who complete their course.
Perhaps the places of worship in the area can unite in this approach.
I don't know the stats but when the Centre of Hope in Whitehorse had this spiritual aspect removed, how have the addiction results changed?

Up 32 Down 5

bonanzajoe on Feb 25, 2021 at 4:45 pm

Instead of trying to help people with their addiction problems with counselling like in the old days, the government is now trying to make it easier and comfortable while doing illegal drug use. Like, don't do drugs alone, do it with friends and make a party of it. Yeah, that should solve the overdose death problem. Elected politicians seem to be getting stupider these days, instead of smarter and wiser.

Up 17 Down 1

Fentanyl is Non-Discriminating on Feb 25, 2021 at 4:07 pm

Fentanyl does not discriminate against anyone. Even judges can die from it!

Up 17 Down 4

--- how about stopping shipments of fentanyl from China? on Feb 25, 2021 at 4:00 pm

Or giving weed back to the black market.
The gov was warned about this when weed was legalized. If you take the market from them they'll sell something else.

Up 39 Down 15

Sheepchaser on Feb 25, 2021 at 1:13 pm

Awesome! Always wanted to chase the dragon. If the gov is supplying and guaranteeing quality, sounds like a great Saturday night. If all the risk of enforcement and overdose are eliminated, why not heroin for all? Just the one time... really, I promise.


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