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Saskatchewan government halts supports for free drug materials like pipes

The Government of Saskatchewan is making an immediate change to its health system approach when it comes to drug abuse.

Third party organizations receiving government funding will not be able to use money to provide things like pipes for smoking meth or crack.

“Providing taxpayer-funded pipes for smoking illicit drugs and instructions for how to use them sends the wrong message to people who we want to help,” Mental Health and Addictions Minister Tim McLeod said.

Click to play video: 'Coun. Darren Hill calls for public consultations during shelter search'

Coun. Darren Hill calls for public consultations during shelter search

“Instead, the message coming from the health-care system should be that there is hope for recovery, and there is help available through treatment.”

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The province has been shifting its focus on mental health and addictions by promising to create 500 addictions treatment spaces across Saskatchewan as part of a new action plan that was announced in Fall 2023.

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“The goal of the health care system should always be getting people the treatment they need to overcome addictions and live healthy, safe lives in recovery,” McLeod said. “How the health care system responds to people who have yet to walk the path to recovery needs to strike a balance with public safety priorities.”

Click to play video: 'Private addictions treatment and recovery centre opening in rural Sask.'

Private addictions treatment and recovery centre opening in rural Sask.

The province said the Take Home Naloxone program will continue, offering free naloxone kits to the public.

This announcement also doesn’t affect the use of drug checking infrared spectrometres.

But the provincial government did say needle exchanges will run on an exchange basis to try and prevent littering of used needles in public spaces.

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New community wellness buses were also announced for 2024 with the aim of offering primary health care services and other supports and referrals to people who need it.

— More to come…

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