The Government of Yukon highlights 14 initial actions from the Substance Use Health Emergency Strategy

On August 23, 2023, the Substance Use Health Emergency Strategy was introduced as a result of partnership and a shared commitment to the health and wellbeing of all Yukoners. Building on this foundation of collaboration and transparency, the Government of Yukon will continue to work closely with partners and the recently-established Yukon First Nations Chiefs Committee on Health to advance and implement the recommendations as well as identify future actions.

Recognizing that this is an emergency and that the strategy contains 43 recommended actions, the Government of Yukon is immediately providing funding to support collaborative efforts aimed at implementing an initial 14 actions outlined in the strategy. Encompassing all four areas of growth – prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery, and community safety and wellbeing – many of these actions have already seen progress and hold the potential for further advancement through continued collaborative efforts.

The Government of Yukon recognizes that the Substance Use Health Emergency Strategy is going to take a collaborative effort from all partners. Like the Substance Use Health Emergency declaration, this strategy is a call to action and will help guide all partners and communities to respond.

The following actions represent the initial steps towards addressing the Substance Use Health Emergency:

Prevention

1. Implement Planet Youth in Yukon communities.

2. Continue to support Yukon communities in creating and implementing community wellness plans.

3. Continue to launch communication and educational campaigns addressing substance use and mental wellness issues.

Harm reduction

4. Implement a managed alcohol program.

5. Further expand the operating hours of Whitehorse’s Supervised Consumption Site.

6. Further expand access to Opioid Treatment Services, including safer supply and Opioid Agonist Therapy.

Treatment and recovery support

7. Ensure the availability of Opioid Agonist Therapy wherever Yukoners seek assistance (partially addressed through the deployment of the Mobile Opioid Treatment Services clinic).

8. Continue to increase support for Yukon First Nations to develop and implement land-based mental health and substance use treatment options.

Community safety and wellbeing

9. Continue to invest in preventing gender-based violence and improving services for victims of crime.

10. Increase frontline support staffing and create more safe and sober housing options for individuals grappling with substance use issues when transitioning from the criminal justice system back into communities.

11. Continue to collaborate with Yukon First Nations governments to expand therapeutic courts and other restorative justice approaches in response to substance use-related treatment needs.

12. Continue to support effective and accountable policing and enforcement responsive to community needs and taking into account the Yukon’s modern treaty environment.

13. Expand the capacity of the Mobile Crisis Response Team (Car 867).

14. Increase the Government of Yukon’s capacity to investigate and for civil remedies to disrupt the distribution of toxic illicit drugs and organized crime in Yukon communities.

To date, the Government of Yukon has allocated $2.5M for these 14 actions for the 2023/24 fiscal year. As the Substance Use Health Emergency Strategy evolves, the Government of Yukon remains committed to allocating the necessary resources to support the safety of all Yukoners.

This strategy provides a roadmap that will allow us all to continue to respond in a way that promotes the health and wellbeing of Yukoners.

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