According to the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), the crystal meth crisis in Saskatoon continues.
Current statistics for 2021 show that the city is on track to match the number of ER visits from last year, and possibly surpass it.
There were nearly 1,000 ER visits in Saskatoon due to methamphetamine use in 2020.
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There has already been about a third of that amount in the first four months of 2021 alone.
Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) Superintendent Patrick Nogier said drug seizures and overall have increased by nearly eight percent over the past year and that SPS continues efforts to reduce drug trafficking.
“These are major seizures that are taking a product off the street that has the potential to cause a lot of harm to your community,” Nogier said.
The Street Crimes Unit alone has seized more than 15 kilograms of crystalline methamphetamine in the last year.
While that’s a lot to get off the streets, Prairie Harm Reduction CEO Jason Mercredi said, “The problem is, drug dealers are crafty and we’re still going to have a meth problem in this city.”
“It’s great that the police can do that, but really, the best way out of that is to get people out of the addiction cycle.”
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Prairie Harm is intended to be a safe space for drug users to get help for many problems and concerns, even if they are experiencing an overdose.
Mercredi said it is important to have that service for the people in Saskatoon because the current drug crisis, coupled with COVID-19, is causing hospitals to be overwhelmed with patients.
“It is definitely a huge cost to the health care system to have so many visits to the ER, and when we see that the ERs are overloaded, it is not a good situation.”
After Nogier mentioned a notable increase in calls, suggestions and complaints about drug use in Saskatoon, SPS decided to further focus its efforts on drug trafficking in 2021.
However, he added that there is still a long way to go.
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“The war on drugs is very complicated. We know it takes a long time, we know there is a lot of money associated, a long time associated, but we are committed as a law enforcement service to making sure Saskatoon is a place where people can thrive and prosper. “
Saskatoon police recently made one of their largest methamphetamine seizures in recent years, consisting of six kilograms of the drug.
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