People in Saskatchewan with addictions now have access to safer inhalation supplies.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority said 30 harm reduction sites, including six community-based organizations, will be offering the inhalation materials as part of the response to addressing substance abuse in the province.
“The provision of safer inhalation supplies reduces the risk of people who use drugs contracting HIV, hepatitis B and C and respiratory infections such as tuberculosis and pneumonia,” Dr. Peter Butt said.
“Providing safer inhalation supplies can also offer people who use drugs an alternative to injecting them.”
Health officials said providing these supplies reduces the need to construct makeshift pipes, lessening the risk of injuries such as burns, blisters, cuts or open sores, which in turn can lead to the spread of disease.
“The big message that we’re trying to get across is one pipe, one person. Don’t share,” AIDS Saskatoon executive director Jason Mercredi said.
“With crack specifically, one of the makeshifts that they have if they don’t get the brass filters provided, is they use steel wool. Steel wool is very problematic because when it heats up, you can actually inhale the steel wool and then it shreds up your lungs quite significantly. People also smoke out of pop cans,” Mercredi explained.
Mercredi said providing inhalation supplies will also increase the number of people they can reach with harm reduction services.
“When they were going to the commercial sector to gain access to these supplies, there was no opportunity to engage them with other supports, other addictions supports, or mental health supports,” Mercredi said.
The Saskatchewan government said it spends over $46-million yearly on addiction services.
For more support and services information, visit the province’s mental health and addiction services online.