“Health crisis” declared in Canadian province

by Paul Lucas16 Mar 2016
A “health crisis” has been declared in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan as a result of a three-year surge in deaths due to addictions, violence and health issues.

The declaration was made by the leaders of three Saskatchewan First Nations groups – Keeseekoose, Cote and Key First Nations. It is their hope that by going public with this claim they will be able to prompt action from the Sunrise Health region, as well as both provincial and federal governments, to meet with Saulteaux Pelly Agency Chiefs Health Alliance and develop forthcoming actions.

According to a report by the Canadian Press, Ted Quewezance, who is a former Keeseekoose chief and now a senator for the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, believes that a lack of access to high level health care is at the centre of the problem. He also believes that some approaches, including the harm reduction strategy, have failed.

The harm reduction strategy is designed to help those with addictions. However, members of the alliance believe that since a methadone clinic was launched in Kamsack, addiction issues have actually escalated. Quewezance even went as far as to describe the provincial and federal governments as becoming “pushers of drugs” stating that they “fund narcotics and opioids under the government drug plan”.

Now they have called for more front line doctors and nurses to be made available to assess and stabilize patients and help the community avoid a state of “constant grieving”.

What are your thoughts on the “harm reduction strategy”? Do you believe that methadone clinics are a good idea? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.