Since January 2020, 13 individuals have died as a result of drug overdoses
Concern continues to rise around the number of opioid related deaths in Yukon. Since January 2020, 13 individuals have died as a result of drug overdoses, 11 of which can be directly linked to opioids. The numbers were jointly released today by Yukon’s Chief Coroner Heather Jones, Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley and Minister of Health and Social Services Pauline Frost.
The announcement comes with a caution to all drug users to be extremely cautious in what they are using and who they are buying from. In May this year, the coroner and Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health issued a first warning, advising individuals not to use alone and to ensure they have a naloxone kit readily available.
There are currently plans under way to expand drug testing and explore the possibility of a supervised consumption site in Yukon.
“These deaths are heartbreaking. With each death, our community loses a son or a daughter, a neighbour or a colleague. People need to be aware about the dangers of illicit drug use and know that opioid use does not discriminate. This is a complex problem that we need to address as a community. This includes working to reduce the stigma around people who use drugs, which remains a significant barrier that prevents individuals, families and communities from getting help.” Said Pauline Frost Minister of Health and Social Services
“Given the number of deaths in only seven months and the continued efforts we have undertaken to caution people, we have reached another level of crisis. We have to think differently about how we meet the needs of this segment of our population to keep them safe and to keep those at risk alive.” Said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley
This recent spike in opioid related deaths is seen as a tragedy by Yukon Coroner’s Service. Each death represents deeply rooted networks within our communities and the impact has been massive. We must move forward with renewed compassion and face this as the crisis it has become.
Opioid Treatment Services at the Referred Care Clinic located on 210 Elliot Street, does not require a referral; anyone can access these services, which include strong social supports. Opioid Overdose Prevention can be reached at 867-332-0722.