Manitoba Health Coalition calls on PC Government to stop ignoring drug poisoning crisis
WINNIPEG (TREATY 1) - 2021 was Manitoba’s deadliest year yet for fatal drug poisoning. Despite this fact, Budget 2022 did not include investment for a supervised consumption site in Winnipeg. While some progress was made on harm reduction measures, the Stefanson government did not heed the warnings of community activists and outreach organizations about the urgent need to stop the deadly toll on our streets.
“The overdose crisis is spiralling out of control while this government tinkers around the edges of harm reduction measures,” said Thomas Linner, Provincial Director of the Manitoba Health Coalition. “We need to take every step possible to get people the help they need and save lives, including the establishment, funding and staffing of supervised consumption sites. The alternative is more deaths on our streets, and that cannot be accepted.”
Manitoba, like provinces across Canada, is facing a toxic drug supply that amounts to a public health crisis. Community agencies have taken the step of putting out an alert on overdoses occurring this week in Winnipeg. The status quo is more of our friends, neighbours and loved ones overdosing and potentially dying on the street.
“MHC supports the private member’s bill proposed in the Manitoba Legislature for an annual bereavement day for drug-related deaths. We are also encouraged that Mental Health and Community Wellness Minister Sarah Guillemard has signalled an openness to supervised consumption sites,” said Linner. “It’s impossible to say how many people have needlessly lost their lives as a result of former premier Brian Pallister’s colonial and shame-based approach to this public health crisis. But action must be taken now to stop further suffering and death.”
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