Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark is calling the drug problem in his city a “crisis.”
Clark went on a ride-a-long with Saskatoon Police Service on Saturday night and said he saw first hand the chaos and tragedy of the opioid crisis during a call for a 31-year-old who died of a drug overdose.
“To be there and to witness what a police officer goes through, to interview the witnesses, to try to help calm and bring compassion to the family,” he said.
The number of drug overdoses in Saskatoon is on the rise.
Troy Davies with Medavie Health Services said their paramedics see crystal meth most often.
In 2013, paramedics in Saskatoon responded to 532 drug overdose calls; in 2018 the number doubled to 1,052.
Davies said they’re seeing those numbers continue to rise.
“It is 100 per cent spread out across the city, there is no demographic that is identified as a high user, it ranges from 17 years old to 45 years old,” he said.
“These are the major numbers we’re seeing. People take these drugs and it’s frustrating.”
Davies explained one call can pull as many as 15 emergency workers to a drug overdose scene and paramedics see multiple calls of an overdose each day.
Clark said drug addiction isn’t an easy problem for any community to solve.
“We have our work cut out for us,” he said.
“We’re very in a similar place to Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Regina in trying to tackle these issues. I will be calling on the provincial government, the federal government, community partners that we need to absolutely work together.”
Clark said it will take a collaborative effort to fight the drug crisis Saskatchewan is facing.