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Saskatoon community groups release report on how to tackle crystal meth crisis

Saskatoon community groups release report on how to tackle crystal meth crisis
WATCH: A Saskatoon community group is looking to address the local crystal meth crisis.

The Crystal Meth Working Group (CMWG) released its report with 29 actions on how agencies and groups across Saskatoon can address the widespread use of crystal meth in the city.

The group has been working over the last nine months, hearing from voices across the spectrum about what is needed to help those suffering from addiction.

READ MORE: Price of meth as low as $3 in Saskatoon

The 29 strategic actions are broken down into five subsections: prevention, treatment, harm reduction, enforcement/suppression and data integration.

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The CMWG will take a leadership role in most of the actions, but it calls on collaborative efforts from the education system, community safety groups, Indigenous groups, police and post-secondary institutions to play a role in tackling all items.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) said people addicted to crystal meth need a continuum of care reaching from while they’re in medical facilities to the time after they are released.

Addressing crystal meth use in Saskatoon
Addressing crystal meth use in Saskatoon

“When they’re returning to their community or their home or their family group that they have the right kind of supports to be able to manage any kind of triggers that they might have and get the supports they need,” said mental health and addictions services director Tracy Muggli.

She added capacity has been an issue in the past and getting patient’s continuous care has been difficult, but that a collaborative effort with the group is needed to ensure continuous care is solid and to see if anything else is needed during any patient transitional period.

READ MORE: Saskatoon supervised consumption site opening pushed back

Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) said enforcement practices taking place right now aren’t working.

“They all work together,” said SPS Supt. Randy Huisman of all the recommendations. “So if you’re going to have a drug-treatment court, then we better have some other long-term treatment to offer and supports for the family and those that are addicted to crystal meth otherwise it’s not going to work.”

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READ MORE: Saskatoon to receive drug treatment court: Sask. justice minister

He added when an arrest is made, it can break up a family. Huisman said officers have discretion when someone is found in possession of crystal meth to direct them to treatment or support services.

Below is the list of the 29 strategic actions:

Prevention

  1. Develop, implement and evaluate a Saskatoon community awareness campaign about crystal meth.
  2. Develop and inventory of local experts to complement the awareness campaign and provide opportunities for training to local community partners.
  3. Develop, implement and evaluate a comprehensive provincial drug and alcohol strategy.
  4. Create a technology-based training and awareness framework for all human service employees, including a commitment from agencies, partners and government to implement and evaluate.
  5. Improve access to age-appropriate curricular tools in the pre K-12 education system that focuses on the complexity of addictions, truths and histories of colonial and intergenerational trauma and the intersection between substance use and trauma.
  6. Create a 24-hour drop-in centre and youth shelter providing all services to individuals under the age of 18.

Treatment

  1. Research the best practices for opportunities to support stimulant replacement/substitution programs.
  2. Investigate and support best practices for land-based healing programs/services for Indigenous users of crystal meth.
  3. Work collaboratively to develop, implement and evaluate options for inpatient/outpatient (or a combination) of services for community members with active crystal meth substance use disorder.
  4. Create a long-term, publically-funded inpatient treatment strategy (specific for crystal meth substance use disorder) that includes prevention and harm reduction.
  5. Support consistent, appropriate and sustainable funding to develop, implement and evaluate a crystal meth treatment/harm reduction model for Indigenous people by Indigenous people.
  6. Monitor and support Safe Community Action Alliance (SCAA) partners connected to the implementation of the Rapid Access Addiction Medicine Program.
  7. Provide facilities for a crystal meth specific treatment and rehabilitation centre in Saskatoon that offers transportation, family accommodation, optional cultural programming and access to elders.

Harm Reduction

  1. Develop a methodology to report on the social return on investment for harm-reduction programs/services.
  2. Develop/expand, sustainably fund and evaluate a harm-reduction housing model, in collaboration with Camponi Housing Corporation and its partners, for community members who are currently using crystal meth.
  3. Develop a comprehensive strategy for (24-7-365) coordinated and sustainably funded street/community outreach to increase efficiency, reach and safety.
  4. Develop policy and practice that would encourage maximum use of vacant/under-used spaces in the city.
  5. Monitor and support the implementation of the supervised consumption site.
  6. Establish an out-patient supported-living and housing program for addicts and implement a Managed Crystal Meth Program like CMAPS within the city.

Enforcement/Suppression

  1. Create a community document that investigates the relationship between enforcement policy/practices for crystal meth and apprehension of children including innovative best practices that support keeping families together.
  2. Develop, implement and evaluate a drug court in Saskatoon.
  3. Develop policy and practice that requires the implementation of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles in the design of community space.
  4. Mandatory trauma-informed training for police and emergency services to effectively and safely intervene and provide care to users; implement a policy for mental health professionals to ride with police officers responding to crystal meth-related calls and; build relationships with persons in the Saskatoon community that have historically been over-policed and under-protected.

Data Integration

  1. Create and resource a team of lived-experience colleagues.
  2. Create a system map that collects current data associated with access to systems for those who are currently involved with crystal meth.
  3. Work with existing data and evaluation experts to create policy and practice for sharing data specific to the crystal meth working group.
  4. Develop, implement, resource and evaluate a centralized data storage/sharing system that creates opportunity for community, government and systems to share/use data.
  5. Create opportunities for community-driven research that builds capacity and focuses on the interconnection and reciprocity between community needs and researcher needs. Understand that outputs should be useful for community policy and practice.
  6. Conduct a study examining the systemic factors contributing to the crystal meth crisis and a subsequent comparative study after the abovementioned recommendations have been implemented.