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Yukon government spending $2.5 million to address its priorities from substance use strategy

Expanding hours of supervised consumption site and carrying out managed alcohol program prioritized
Tracy-Anne McPhee, minister of Justice and Health and Social Services, addresses reporters at a press conference to release the Yukon government’s substance use health emergency strategy on Aug. 23. (Dana Hatherly/Yukon News)

The Yukon government says it is immediately pumping money into executing its top 14 priorities of the 43 recommendations from its strategy intended to deal with the substance use health emergency declared 19 months ago.

After revealing the strategy last week with no timelines, implementation plans or cost, the government unveiled its highest priorities in a press release on Aug. 28. It has set aside $2.5 million for the 14 priorities for the 2023/24 fiscal year.

“As we navigate the complexities of the substance use health emergency, these initial actions reflect our comprehensive approach in helping to ensure the wellbeing of all Yukoners. Each step we take brings us closer to a community where every individual feels supported and every solution is rooted in care, compassion and collaboration,” Tracy-Anne McPhee, minister of Justice and Health and Social Services, said in the release.

“We continue to believe that when you save even one life, you save the world.”

The release indicates the government will continue working with partners and the Yukon First Nations chiefs committee on health to carry out the recommendations and identify future actions.

The release calls for a collaborative effort from all partners. It describes the strategy as a call to action, a roadmap and a guide for partners and communities. It states the government will allocate the “necessary resources to support the safety of all Yukoners.”

Here are the government’s priorities:

-Implement Planet Youth, a model designed to identify and execute community-based prevention activities for youth, in all Yukon communities

-Support communities in coming up with community wellness plans

-Launch communication and education campaigns around substance use and mental health

-Implement a managed alcohol program

-Expand the operating hours of Whitehorse’s supervised consumption site

-Increase access to opioid treatment services, including safer supply and opioid agonist therapy

-Ensure opioid agonist therapy is available wherever Yukoners seek help

-Increase support for Yukon First Nations to come up with and carry out land-based mental health and substance use treatment options

-Invest in preventing gender-based violence and improving support for victims of crime

-Increase frontline support staffing and create more safe and sober housing options, particularly for individuals grappling with substance use issues when transitioning from the criminal justice system

-Expand therapeutic court and other restorative justice approaches

-Build on the capacity of Car 867, the mobile crisis response team

-Increase the government’s capacity to investigate and for “civil remedies to disrupt the distribution of toxic illicit drugs and organized crime”

Contact Dana Hatherly at

Dana Hatherly

About the Author: Dana Hatherly

I’m the legislative reporter for the Yukon News.
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