Throne speech reveals 150 new addiction treatment spaces to be added in Saskatchewan

A person injects hydromorphone at the Providence Health Care Crosstown Clinic in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

As Saskatchewan reports extremely high overdose numbers throughout 2022, and residents deal with mental health problems, people are searching for support centres.

During the province’s throne speech Wednesday, there were a number of items outlined to help with the rising demand for more mental health and addictions services.

Read more: Saskatchewan to introduce new police across province: throne speech

The government said they will be investing $470 million, which equals more than seven per cent of the health-care budget, towards mental health and addictions services this fiscal year.

They will also be adding 150 new addictions treatment spaces over a three-year period.

The Rapid Access Counselling Program delivered by Family Service Saskatchewan has also been expanded to another eight locations in the province.

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“The Mental Health Capacity Building in Schools Program is being expanded and we are improving access to Addictions Medicine Clinics,” the speech read. “We are working with partner organizations to fully implement our commitment to expand the number of detox spaces across the province.”

Read more: Saskatchewan throne speech keys in on provincial autonomy and economic growth

“Revenues from our strong and growing economy will continue to be invested in more surgeries, more health care professionals, better mental health and addictions services, new health facilities and many other key health care priorities.”

The government is also partnering with the Saskatoon Tribal Council and Regina Treaty/Status Indian Services on projects to address homelessness, though no further details have been released.

For the Saskatchewan NDP however, the announcement is nowhere near the level of support actually needed and doesn’t even address domestic violence.

“We have the highest domestic violence rate in the country, double the national average and something that has never been addressed by this government,” Sask. NDP leader Carla Beck said.

“They have not taken up the calls to justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women nor meaningfully addressed the rates of domestic violence in this province.  I think this is going to be another place for this government to show how out of step it is with the realities of this province.”

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