Whitehorse Daily Star

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EX-LIBERAL ENDORSES NDP – Independent MLA Don Hutton discusses what he views as the government’s failure to deal with addictions issues on Wednesday as NDP Leader Kate White looks on.

NDP outlines plans to tackle addictions woes

NDP Leader Kate White says her party would tackle head-on the issues of alcohol abuse and deadly illicit drug use if elected next Monday.

By Chuck Tobin on April 8, 2021

NDP Leader Kate White says her party would tackle head-on the issues of alcohol abuse and deadly illicit drug use if elected next Monday.

The territory has so much strength, so much optimism, White said in her platform announcement on Zoom Wednesday morning.

“But our territory is also facing an addictions crisis,” she said. “In 2020, there were twice as many overdose deaths as there were in 2019, and with the introduction of fentanyl and carfentanyl into our supply, we’re on track for another crushing year where sons and daughters, brothers and sisters are stolen from us due to the opioid epidemic.

“Anyone who hasn’t noticed that our territory has a serious alcohol problem on our hands needs only to open their eyes.”

The NDP leader was joined at the announcement by outgoing Mayo-Tatchun MLA Don Hutton. He left the Liberal party caucus in early March to sit as an independent, citing a lack of commitment from the government to address the territory’s alcohol and drug problems.

White said the NDP would establish a safe supply line for clean drugs to reduce the reliance on potentially toxic street drugs.

It would also implement a safe consumption program where users can be in the company of staff qualified to deal with drug overdoses.

The New Democrats would establish a clinic to help those suffering with chronic pain to help manage their pain and reduce reliance on opiate prescriptions, she said.

The party leader said 36 Yukoners have died of overdoses since 2016.

Safe supply lines and consumption sites have been run successfully across Canada, she noted.

“We must not let inaction take any more of our friends, family or neighbours,” White said. “We have a plan and our plan meets people where they’re at.”

The Liberal government, she suggested, has done nothing to address the opiate crisis.

White said her party would also build an addictions treatment centre out on the land and establish a live-in alcohol management program.

The party, she added, will double the number of beds at the detox facility.

White said there is a real alcohol crisis in the territory which has stemmed from colonization, poverty, trauma and lack of access to good treatment.

The crisis is so bad the Yukon received an F in 2019 on the report card from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, she said.

White said hospitalizations due to alcohol use are skyrocketing.

“It is long past time that we take decisive action to curb the death and disease resulting from alcohol misuse in the territory,” she said.

Hutton is not seeking re-election after a single term, and in fact is helping to elect Patty Wallingham, the NDP candidate for Mayo-Tatchun.

“I know that a strong NDP team, led by Kate White, is what the Yukon needs to stop the hurt the addictions crisis is doing to the people we love,” he said. “So with that, I encourage you to vote for the Yukon NDP and make Kate White our next premier.”

Hutton said he had to stake a stand and leave the Liberals because the concerns he was raising regarding alcohol and drug use were repeatedly ignored, dismissed and went unanswered.

“I was elected to be part of the Liberal government (in 2016), but their time in office has been a deep disappointment to me and my community with their inaction on issues that our communities struggle with, in particular, alcohol abuse and addictions,” Hutton said.

“I know I’m not the only person who feels let down.”

Comments (31)

Up 5 Down 0

Jayne W on Apr 13, 2021 at 11:07 pm

@Waahaaa You say smoking (addiction, choice to smoke) does not cause cancer....Smoking tobacco can cause many kinds of cancer – cancer of the kidney, liver, bladder, throat, colon, pancreas, and cervix, to name a few. Cancer is a horrible disease and I don't wish it on anyone. The addiction / choice smoking cigarettes can cause the disease of cancer. Over eating, diet, food addiction food choice can cause Type 2 diabetes disease so again choose to not look after yourself you choose to possibly get a disease.
The disease of addiction which the term has been around for over 50 years and considered a brain disease because it changes the brain function. It is also misunderstood by many people because we are not the experts. The disease of addiction is influenced by a person's biology, social environment, and age or stage of development. The more risk factors an individual has, the greater the chance that taking drugs can lead to the disease. So just don't assume the addicts are choosing this lifestyle. Spend a night walking around town, have maybe some snacks and bottle water and talk to these people and it might open your eyes a bit. And your right, Education is failing badly, we can all see it in the comments people make behind their keyboards.
We can all debate back and forth but in the end our community leaders need to come up with a solution to prevent the younger generation from this horrible disease of addiction. (or choice as you would say).

Up 6 Down 6

Waaah... My feelings are hurt I want use! on Apr 13, 2021 at 4:13 pm

Dear Jayne - It makes me sick to think that people like you feel it is okay to infantilize and disempower people by taking away their power to choose. Cancer is not “caused” by smoking and Diabetes is not “caused” by overeating - FFS! However, alcoholism is “caused” by consuming alcohol and drug addiction is “caused” by consuming drugs.

Thank you for providing evidence of the school systems failure to educate.

Up 6 Down 5

Jayne W on Apr 12, 2021 at 5:57 pm

@Wahhhh....yes people do choose diabetes and cancer for diseases. I will quote you, "they do choose"...smoking..overeating....etc etc. (which links to diseases, and falls under addictions too. It makes me sick that people like you walk amongst us, and wish you used your real name so people can know who the @#$#@ of our community are.

Up 9 Down 23

Dispointed in your comments on Apr 10, 2021 at 12:58 pm

@Wahhhh I'm a hateful @$$hole - If you think anyone would choose the lifestyle of an addict for themselves, you are sadly mistaken. These people need compassion - clearly you have none.

Your narrow views on addiction have been shared by our govt, police, doctors etc. etc. for the last few decades. Has the situation improved at all? No, it is only getting worse. Keep up the good work.

Up 15 Down 5

Shameful on Apr 10, 2021 at 12:47 pm

It's pretty funny how Don pretends he is a champion of the communities and then tells everyone to vote for the candidate living in Whitehorse to represent Mayo and Carmacks lol.

Also, he knows the NDP have no chance of winning govt (literally 0 chance...they will probably win 2 ridings), but in order to stick it to the Liberals, he will cut off his nose to spite his face. The Yukon Party is sure to win this election and they have said they will make alcohol cheaper and more accessible. Hell, Curry Dickson even launched his platform in front of a brewery. I hope that makes you feel good Don.

We have a sensible, progressive government right now and you want to throw it away because they didn't go full socialist like the loons in the NDP want to. Enjoy the next 15 years of Yukon Party rule Don, you've earned it.

Up 18 Down 8

Dave on Apr 10, 2021 at 11:58 am

So we all get free drugs under Kates plan? I want in as I really want to kick my my lame a—- 10 plus hour a day working for a living habit. I sure hope the NDP gets the good stuff, maybe I can be paid to cook meth on the government dime. I can’t wait to see that particular YG job posting! What happens once the NDP converts the territory into a bunch of government enabled zombies baked out of our gourds all the time? How do we decide who gets the free government drugs and who has to do the work? Will we have to bring in more workers from elsewhere because the government has enabled us all to be drug addicts? Once I’m an addict I can look forward to free government housing and groceries to right? They’ll have to take care of me because then I’ll be a victim of the system too! It’s like winning the lottery! I like this plan and I’m really looking forward to my future life of free YG drugs, food, and housing. You go NDP!

Up 36 Down 10

Wahhh... My feelings are hurt I want use... on Apr 9, 2021 at 5:13 pm

@ Disappointed - Take the emotionalism out of your argument and what do you have left - Nothing. Stop the war on “accountability” and “personal responsibility”. You make your choices to drink or not to drink, to consume or not to consume - It’s all you! Substance use is a choice, not a disease. Gabor Mate has done a lot of harm in his promotion of an infantilized sense of self as powerless. This is the sort of crap I would expect from MWSUS as they facilitate their enabling strategies throughout the Territory and beyond.

People don’t choose diabetes, cancer, or dementia but they do choose alcoholism and drug dependency - For that they are to blame. CHOOSE sobriety not moral impropriety.

Up 14 Down 6

Richard Smith on Apr 9, 2021 at 4:11 pm

Teen Challenge is a well established and successful addictions organization claiming an over 50% success rate of those who complete their program.
It's religious based and not for everyone but those who are determined to break the addictions vice.
Why not promote and support this approach giving choice and inquire about bringing it to Whitehorse.

Up 11 Down 32

Disappointed in your comments... on Apr 9, 2021 at 3:27 pm

These comments are disappointing to say the least. The stigma of addiction is very real here in the Yukon. All of you people looking down your noses at our peers and loved ones with addiction problems should be ashamed of yourselves. I suggest all of you take a few moments to look up one expert on addiction in particular: Dr. Gabor Mate or Dr. Gabe Mate.

Most (if not all) of these people suffer from trauma and/or mental health issues. Substance abuse is unfortunately how they are able to cope with their untreated trauma and/or mental health issues. Once the physical dependency of addiction kicks in, you are stuck in a terrible never ending cycle of having to use drugs to subside your withdrawal symptoms on top of using drugs to deal with your trauma.

A safe supply program is desperately needed because people from this community are dying from tainted opiates. In order to qualify for the program, you will need to see a doctor who will prescribe, moderate and control your dosage of a safe pharmaceutical grade opiate. Once you are in contact with a doctor, they can work on getting you clean by slowly decreasing your dose, switching you to a less harmful opiate or opiate agonist and putting you in touch with a counselor so you can address the real issues at hand - trauma and mental health.

If addicts are getting their drugs from a safe supply chain, it means they aren't getting them from drug dealers. Not a bad group of people to put out of work. If addicts aren't desperate for their drugs, it means that theft and property crimes to pay for these drugs will also decrease. The war on drugs has failed, it's time to try a health care based approach to fighting addiction.

Up 28 Down 1

Go back Jack do it again... Wheel turning round and round... on Apr 9, 2021 at 1:32 pm

Good Hammer... You nailed it! The current crop of wannabes at MWSUS have no real qualification beyond their own likes and opinions which they refer to as emotional intelligence. One of the self-aggrandizing, feel good, look at me self promoters, has an MSc in cartoon studies with a CSI focus on Forensic Psychology from Liverpool. This program was so far removed from the real world of “counseling and addictions” that it is at cross purposes with the clientele. It was a degree in profiling which is illegal in Canada... But hey, it is not like they know what they are doing at YG/GY or whatever it is now.

Yes, there needs to be a rigorous University level program on Mental Health and Addictions with a “how to” counsel segment of the program involving practical work with an emphasis on ACCOUNTABILITY for both client and counselor... But YG/GY whatever... It’s an effing s*it show out there... My feelings, my feelings... FFS!

Up 7 Down 20

JSM on Apr 9, 2021 at 12:25 pm

I think these are the only idea's Kate have that are actually viable or beneficial.
I think there will always be a spot for her in Politics. Just not as a leader.

Up 32 Down 6

Mike on Apr 9, 2021 at 9:26 am

Safe supply and safe injection site does not deal with the addiction problem in the Yukon, it enables it. Anyone thinking otherwise is naive to the problem. This territory has a zero success rate in treatment yet they continue to use the treatment program set up at the detox slash treatment centers. What we have there is a whole bunch of people skilled enough to get people to share their lives but zero skills on guiding them back to healing. So they create the humpty dumpty scenario but don't put them back together again. They focus on identifying the relapse triggers but don't provide the skills to handle the triggers.
Let's stop pumping money into a failing treatment program that obviously doesn't work and start getting qualified CDC certified councilors to treat these addicts. Open an after care recovery house and walk these addicts out of the addiction and into a life worth living. Safe injection sites are a bandage not a answer and it's our tax dollars that pay for these safe injection sites, the drugs, and the staff. It's insane and does not work - stop trying to destroy this beautiful Territory and actually do something instead of making a nice brochure.

Up 39 Down 11

Dave on Apr 9, 2021 at 4:10 am

The crazy train NDP wants to use our taxes to supply illegal recreational drugs to people, no way and no how is that ever going to happen. Here's my alternative plan. Stand on my own two feet, take responsibility for my own actions and do not inject, ingest or inhale poisonous substances into my body. I don't need the government or anybody else to hold my hand and supply me with 'safe' toxic substances or safe places to put those toxic substances into my body.

Up 16 Down 4

Platform Liquor Launch on Apr 8, 2021 at 10:57 pm

I wonder what Don Hutton, the guy who called bar owners drug dealers, thinks about Currie Dixon launching the Yukon Party platform at a brewery??? I bet he went apoplectic - hahahah.

Also, where is the federal Conservative Candidate Jonas Smith? How come he doesn't seem to be out helping his fellow conservatives? He has been oddly silent.

Up 23 Down 8

Bingo on Apr 8, 2021 at 7:07 pm

Don endorsing the NDP, now that's a new low.

Up 43 Down 8

Guncache on Apr 8, 2021 at 5:55 pm

Oh Katie. The "colonization" buzzword is starting to wear thin. Can't the NDP find a better leader?

Up 32 Down 6

Matthew on Apr 8, 2021 at 5:18 pm

Nice one.. free drugs for all!! But who will pay...? Right.. we all will pay for free drugs. An NDP government WILL be more expensive than the liberals.. a lot to offer but no way of getting the money.. expect printing more.. can anyone say hyper inflation?

Up 35 Down 4

Nathan Living on Apr 8, 2021 at 5:08 pm

Many people have a tough time with free drugs given to addicts.

Up 18 Down 5

bonanzajoe on Apr 8, 2021 at 4:52 pm

And yeah again Kate, those of us who aren't addicted have noticed it. As well, as being victims of it. And we don't want the addicted going around causing trouble on "clean" drugs or dirty drugs. So, how about coming up with a doable plan. If you can take the time to think it out.

Up 27 Down 2

TheHammer on Apr 8, 2021 at 4:51 pm

No point in having a land based treatment center if you don't have qualified counsellors. We already have a treatment center and wilderness camps. How does one get into a land based center? You get sentenced there by the courts, it's not voluntary.. When you say 'land based ' you are talking code for 'First Nations.' First Nation's history of alcohol funding and projects needs to be closely examined over the last 40 years. Land based is not a miracle cure, it's a financial opportunity for ruthless unqualified people with a dubious hidden history in the field of addictions.
You have to convince Federal Medical Services to finance, and they know all about this game. Ask why the National Native Alcohol Addictions directors came up here and cut off funding for a First Nation. Better to bring counsellor training courses to Yukon University, and I'm not talking about 10 week courses, and get that on the road before 'build and they will come' ( and get nowhere, especially sober).

Up 30 Down 10

bonanzajoe on Apr 8, 2021 at 4:48 pm

Yeah Kate, give the addicts government approved drugs to stop drug addiction. Sounds about right. And just where are you going to get clean fentanyl and farfentanyl? Or just what kinds of "clean" drugs do you propose to give the addicts? What about the alcoholics? Do you have a secret supply of clean alcohol? Kate, if clues were shoes, you would be walking around barefoot. I believe the NDP said they were going to tackle alcohol and drug abuse when they were elected into government back in 1990s.
What happened to that plan? Just say anything to get elected. The most effective way to tackle this is proper rehabilitation, not giving out free "clean" drugs. The idea Kate is to get them off of it, not supply it. Total idiocy. And it angers me greatly.

Up 7 Down 4

Cameron on Apr 8, 2021 at 4:39 pm

I thought we had the flagship of mental wellness and addiction here in the Yukon ? It could be the leadership and management... right they only want people they can cure come to them in Whitehorse. I can’t believe the trauma informed dictator Healey has not solved this. If you do get in Kate you may want to clean that corrupt house first. We need services that leave the office and actually serve people. People should be in positions because they get the job done not because they failed somewhere else

Up 10 Down 5

Cameron on Apr 8, 2021 at 4:39 pm

I thought we had the flagship of mental wellness and addiction here in the Yukon ? It could be the leadership and management... right, only want people they can cure come to them in Whitehorse. I can’t believe the trauma informed dictator Healey has not solved this. If you do get in Kate you may want to clean that corrupt house first. We need services that leave the office and actually serve people. People should be in positions because they get the job done not because they failed somewhere else

Up 31 Down 6

It’s not rocket science! on Apr 8, 2021 at 4:36 pm

The only strategy necessary to solve the problem of addictions: ACCOUNTABILITY.
Quit profiteering from addictions and solve the problem. No more waste on expensive H&SS programs like the hub model or MWSUS - These people are enablers. You could also stop bringing the administration of Justice into disrepute with the strategy: ACCOUNTABILITY.

ACCOUNTABILITY would save everyone a lot of money and grief... Alas, there is so little of it in the world today and we have seen it for the last 4-5 years here in the Yukon... If it were to happen again would we know it? Would we accept it? Could we tolerate it?

What a f#%£ing mess we have... Here - Buy some alcohol, have some weed... Cocaine... Don’t worry about it... The lawyers and the people running the show do plenty of it... She don’t lie, she don’t lie...
We are in serious trouble if the Liberals get elected again - The devil you know...

Up 41 Down 6

Bust my Butt on Apr 8, 2021 at 4:12 pm

Yeah, sure. I'll sign up to work my butt off so I can pay taxes to ENABLE someone else who doesn't. Will those be free drugs you dole out? Also paid by me? Will you be seeking equal contributions from all the FN governments to enable all this? If not, why not?

Up 19 Down 3

Dave on Apr 8, 2021 at 3:24 pm

The NDP platform discusses Safer Supply but remains vague on what exactly is proposed to be supplied. It appears to be an opiate only proposal. Is there scope within NDP's Safer Supply to provide safe ecstasy, cocaine and meth?
(Because all street drugs are unsafe)

Up 22 Down 8

Hmmm on Apr 8, 2021 at 3:10 pm

Not a good look for Kate standing behind a 'turncoat' that waited until the 11th hour to attempt to throw his former party under the bus.

Funny thing, I never ONCE heard Don mention 'addiction' as his main talking point in the past 4.5 years.

Up 18 Down 7

Get rid of CERB and social benefits on Apr 8, 2021 at 2:45 pm

If you look at the primary funder for these drug addictions, you'll find it's government hand outs. Go check the court cases. Now you're stuck in the paradox. "We will give money to those in need BUT will we require mandatory drug testing OR telling people how the money must be spent."

Up 26 Down 2

So on Apr 8, 2021 at 2:35 pm

ban china?

Largest producer and exporter of Fentanyl

Up 36 Down 13

iBrian on Apr 8, 2021 at 2:05 pm

So basically you want to give good clean free drugs to addicts and turn Whitehorse into West Van.

NDP gets in, Our territory will be ruined. Friggin free drugs.

Up 10 Down 24

JSM on Apr 8, 2021 at 2:04 pm

Although I am not a fan of the NDP I will commend Kate on looking out for everyone. They are in lala land with some of their financial decisions but there should always be a spot for people like Kate in the government.

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