Skip to content

Yukon government expanding chronic conditions program to cover alcohol use disorder

Government has also announced agreement to expand dementia services which are not yet available
An undated photo of a silhouette. The Yukon government has announced an expansion of its chronic conditions program to include alcohol use disorder. (

Alcohol use disorder now falls under the Yukon government’s chronic disease and disability benefits program.

In an April 28 release, the Yukon government announced Yukoners diagnosed with alcohol use disorder can get coverage for alcohol use disorder medications. A health-care provider must apply to the program on the individual’s behalf.

The release defines alcohol use disorder as a medical condition. The territorial government offers free counselling, withdrawal support and intensive treatment programs for those with alcohol use disorder, and the addition of medication coverage is intended to help reduce alcohol cravings, decrease drinking and support sobriety, according to the release.

“The addition of this condition and the two medicines, naltrexone and acamprosate, will reduce any cost barrier for those who want help with their drinking, but previously couldn’t afford it,” president of the Yukon Pharmacists Association Joanne Gibson said in the release.

“Improving access to these medicines will hopefully increase their use and as a consequence decrease the harm excessive alcohol consumption has on both our patients and our community.”

According to the release, naltrexone is intended for patients with a goal of abstaining from or reducing alcohol consumption, while acamprosate is recommended for those with a goal of stopping drinking.

The program expansion to include alcohol use disorder follows four suspected substance use-related deaths between April 15 and 18. It comes more than a year into a government-declared territory-wide substance use health emergency.

“This significant advancement aligns with the Government of Yukon’s response to the substance use health emergency and recommendations from health-care providers. It also responds to Yukoners’ requests for substance-use medication coverage,” reads the release.

On the Yukon government’s website, just under 60 diseases and conditions — from ADHD to Williams Syndrome — are covered by the chronic conditions program.

In a motion introduced April 5, Yukon NDP Leader Kate White urged the government to expand the chronic disease and disability benefits program to include more chronic conditions. The third party had been pushing for the program to be expanded to include severe allergies, which are not listed as a chronic condition under the program.

In another April 28 release, the Yukon government announced it has come to an agreement with the Alzheimer Society of B.C. to expand dementia services across the territory.

In the release, the service expansion will bring in a helpline; a Yukon-exclusive caregiver support group; access to online support groups for caregivers and online education sessions and webinars for health-care providers, people living with dementia and caregivers; and public awareness of these programs and services.

This support is not yet available to Yukoners, who will be informed when the support becomes available, as per the release.

The agreement ends March 31, 2024.

Contact Dana Hatherly at

Dana Hatherly

About the Author: Dana Hatherly

I’m the legislative reporter for the Yukon News.
Read more