The Government of Yukon has launched two territory-wide public awareness and education campaigns as part of its ongoing response to the Substance Use Health Emergency.
Through a variety of print and digital advertisements and promotional methods, these campaigns aim to address the toxic drug supply present in the Yukon, promote awareness of the variety of substance use supports and services available in the territory, and increase compassion and understanding around substance use.
The Put the Person First campaign encourages all Yukoners to replace stigmatized language with humanizing language when discussing substance use and those who use substances, and to consider how stigma prevents Yukoners from accessing services and seeking help. Reducing stigma can help family members and loved ones experiencing addiction feel less isolated and help improve the quality of services and care offered in the territory.
The Support is Here for You campaign was developed together with community and health system partners to increase awareness of the many substance use and mental wellness supports available throughout the territory from Yukon government and non-government organizations. Targeted online search ads and a brochure, online directory and other promotional materials offer Yukoners a one-stop source to learn about the many treatment, counselling and harm reduction services available for anyone affected by substance use.
Both campaigns complement the many treatment and harm reduction initiatives underway in the Yukon’s response to the Substance Use Health Emergency. These include expanded hours and methods of consumption at the Supervised Consumption Site, increased drug testing capacity in rural communities, broader Naloxone kit distribution and education, and over $3.4 million in direct investments to substance use supports this year.
The Substance Use Health Emergency is a territory-wide challenge that cannot be solved by one government or organization alone. The Put the Person First campaign is designed to spark a conversation about how we can reduce the stigma around substance use and treat people with compassion. The Support is Here for You campaign is possible because of our relationships with our dedicated community partners who offer critical services to Yukoners. By changing the way we talk about substance use and encouraging more open conversations, we can end the stigma, increase awareness of services available, and make our communities safer and healthier.
Minister of Health and Social Services Tracy-Anne McPhee
A collective and effective response to the Substance Use Health Emergency requires a multi-faceted approach. As one part of that approach, we must change negative attitudes, language and discrimination toward Yukoners who use substances to make it easier for those who may need to seek help. We must also increase awareness of the many services and supports available for anyone ready to take that step. Compassion, understanding and wrap-around support can help reduce barriers to care and improve treatment outcomes.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Sudit Ranade
On January 20, 2022, the Government of Yukon declared a Substance Use Health Emergency. Two Mental Wellness Summits have been hosted in 2022 to bring together leaders, health and social care partners and those with lived experience from across the Yukon and Canada to discuss mental wellness issues and initiatives.
The Yukon continues to struggle with opioid-related deaths. As of October 31, 2022, 21 people have died due to substance-related deaths in the Yukon. There were 23 drug-related deaths in 2021.
Communications, Health and Social Services