According to the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), the crystal meth crisis in Saskatoon continues.
Current stats for 2021 show that the city is on track to match last year’s amount of emergency room visits — and possibly surpass it.
There were nearly 1,000 emergency room visits in Saskatoon due to methamphetamine use in 2020.
There have already been around one-third of that amount just in the first four months of 2021.
Superintendent Patrick Nogier with the Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) said drug and general seizures have increased by almost eight per cent over the last year and SPS is continuing with efforts to reduce drug trafficking.
“These are significant seizures that are taking a product off the street that has the potential of doing a lot of harm to your community,” said Nogier.
The Street Crimes Unit alone has seized over 15 kilograms of crystal meth over the last year.
Although that is a large amount taken off the streets, the executive director at Prairie Harm Reduction, Jason Mercredi, said, “The problem is drug traffickers are crafty and we’re still going to have a methamphetamine issue in this city.”
“It’s great that the police are able to do that but, really, the best way to get out of that is getting people out of the cycle of addiction.”
Prairie Harm is meant to be a safe space for drug users to get help for many issues and concerns, including if they are experiencing an overdose.
Mercredi said it’s important to have that service for people in Saskatoon because the current drug crisis, paired with COVID-19, is causing hospitals to be overwhelmed with patients.
“It’s definitely a huge cost to the health-care system to have that many emergency room visits and, when we’re looking at emergency rooms being overloaded, it’s not a good situation.”
After Nogier mentioned a notable increase in calls, tips and complaints about drug use in Saskatoon, SPS decided to focus even more efforts on drug trafficking in 2021.
However, he added there is still a long way to go.
“The war on drugs is very complicated. We know that it’s time-consuming, we know there’s a lot of money associated to it, a lot of time associated to it, but we’re committed as a police service to make sure that Saskatoon’s a place that people can thrive and prosper.”
Saskatoon Police recently made one of their largest meth seizures in recent years, consisting of six kilograms of the drug.