Mom who lost son to drug overdose says more needs to be done in Sask.
REGINA -- A mother who lost her son to an overdose in 2015 says the province needs to do a full review of the mental health and addictions services being offered.
Marie Agioritis said on Tuesday that enough isn’t being done to address the issue.
“Sit down with a frontline organization, engage them in discussion and ask them what do we need,” she said. “Take four people from the front lines and say what do we need.”
She said the public needs better information about where overdoses are being reported in Saskatchewan, which would allow community organizations to get information out to people.
Regina police responded to four people who died on Monday after overdosing on what officers believe was fentanyl.
According to police, 94 people have died from apparent overdoses in 2020. There have been 16 deaths in November.
Regina Police have received 992 overdose calls in 2020, responding to 373. Officers have administered Narcan 60 times.
According to the latest numbers from the Saskatchewan Coroners Service, 297 people have died from overdoses in the province, a drastic increase from 169 last year.
NDP Leader Ryan Meili said the government should be working to prevent people from getting involved in drugs
“Dedicated mental health and addictions emergency rooms and access to counselling and longer term rehabilitation,” he said. “And of course for those people who are currently using, we need to have the harm reduction supports in place.”
Agioritis said people need more access to Narcan, space in mental health facilities, psychiatric care and detox beds.
She said the province needs a comprehensive approach to overdoses and a better understanding of what is not working.
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Everett Hindley said the province has made significant investments in mental health and addictions and plans to try and learn where it can improve.
“Sit down and talk to … those that are directly affected, whether it’s families or the people that work in some of these organizations providing some of these supports,” Hindley said.
Police say the public should not hesitate to call 9-1-1 in an overdose situation.
It has reminded people of the Good Samaritan Overdose Act, which protects people from possession charges if they are experiencing an overdose.