The Government of Yukon is working to expand access to a medically prescribed safe supply of opioids to address the opioid crisis in the Yukon. Safe supply refers to the provision of a pharmaceutical drug supply of known quantity and quality, as a safer option for adults who use illegal drugs and are at high risk of overdosing. Safe supply is a physician-prescribed and pharmacy-dispensed program that will help Yukoners who use opioids access a safer supply of opioids.
Safe supply is considered distinct from other drug treatment programs but part of the harm reduction continuum. Safe supply may be administered in conjunction with other medical and psycho-social opioid treatment services. The Mental Wellness and Substance Use Services and the Opioid Treatment Services Program currently provides a suite of services for individuals living with an opioid use disorder. The medical team at the Opioid Treatment Services Program can assess, prescribe and support clients who may benefit from a safer supply of opioids. This team has been engaging in continued medical education to expand their familiarity with the prescription of a safer supply of opioids for people who use opioids.
In the past six months, the government has been working with the clinical lead of the Referred Care Clinic, the Opioid Treatment Services Program and an addictions medicine specialist from B.C. to ensure that physicians are trained and feel comfortable in their prescribing role. Having more physicians trained will result in increased access to safe supply.
The safe supply of opioids to people who use opioids is an element of the Confidence and Supply Agreement and supported by both the Yukon Liberal caucus and the Yukon NDP caucus.
Since 2016, 47 Yukoners have lost their lives due to opioid-related deaths, all which could have been prevented. Safe supply is a science-based practice and will be a tool used to combat the opioid crisis in the Yukon. Expanding prescribed safe supply is part of our ongoing work to reduce the lives lost due to overdoses, improve services for people living with substance use issues and reduce stigma associated with drug use. I would like to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of all Yukon health care providers working to prevent overdoses and saves lives as well as supporting those in need in our community.
Minister of Health and Social Services Tracy-Anne McPhee
2021 is on track to be yet another year of record tragedy for the Yukon. We continue to see more and more tragic loss of life to drug overdoses in the territory. In the face of an increasingly toxic drug supply, a safe supply of clinical grade opioids is a critical tool to help prevent overdoses among Yukoners who use opioids. I am relieved that this service is available to help protect vulnerable Yukoners, and want to extend a thank you to all of the advocates and the Departmental staff who pushed for this.
MLA for Vuntut Gwitchin Annie Blake
Since the spring of 2016, the Yukon has had 47 opioid-related deaths.
Yukoners who are interested in learning more about opioids can visit Learn about opioids.
The Confidence and Supply Agreement (CASA) was signed by the Liberal and NDP caucuses on April 28, 2021. It is in effect until January 31, 2023.