Skip to main content

Saskatchewan launches new drug alert system


A new drug alert system is launching in Saskatchewan to better coordinate the province’s approach in warning residents of drug toxicity.

Members of the provincial government, municipal leaders, fire officials and the Saskatchewan Coroners Service gathered in Regina on Thursday for the launch.

“A system that can help mitigate that number of drug related deaths here in our province is essential,” said Mayor Sandra Masters.

Thursday’s announcement comes after a record year of drug toxicity deaths in Saskatchewan in 2023.

“We went to nearly 1,700 overdoses in 2023, so on average that’s working out to about five a day. This is an important initiative and it’s important for harm reduction and prevention,” said Chief Layne Jackson of Regina Fire and Protective Services.

The latest data from the Saskatchewan Coroners Service shows 484 deaths last year are either confirmed or suspected to have been caused by toxic drugs.

The majority of those deaths are accidental, caused by substances like Fentanyl and sometimes further complicated by Xylazine, which can negate the effects of Naloxone.

“I’m happy to see the use of technology and that use of real time alert system to go out. It’s not just here. It’s when it happens in Regina, Saskatoon needs to know about it, PA needs to know about it, other cities need to know about it and vice versa,” said Masters.

“The goal of drug alerts is to increase awareness of the dangers of illicit drugs and the presence of other toxic substances that further increase the risk of overdose and death,” Mental Health and Addictions Minister Tim McLeod said in a news release.

“An important part of our message to people who have yet to walk the path to recovery is that there is hope for recovery, and there is help available through treatment.”

The alerts will be sent out through the province’s Alertable app, and can be received via text or email as well.

“The community partners who are having points of contact with individuals who maybe don’t have computer or phone, they’ll be receiving this and word of mouth amongst that community is a very effective tool,” added McLeod.

Alerts will be issued under a set list of parameters.

They include an increase of residents seen by paramedics or admitted to hospital with an overdose; increases in ICU admissions or deaths due to overdoses over a short period, multiple overdoses in people who use or live in the same area and have used a common substance, overdoses that prove to be difficult to reverse with naloxone, and if concerning substances are in circulation with the potential to cause harm or death.

The new drug alerts will be issued by Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Health with information provided by the coroners service, fire services and drug checking sites in both Regina and Saskatoon.

The alert system was launched more than three months after the Government of Saskatchewan pledged $90 million to a multi-year strategy to help address the addictions and homelessness crisis in the province.

The strategy contains funding for additional addiction treatment beds, supportive housing and emergency shelter spaces in both Regina and Saskatoon.

More information on the alert system can be found on the government’s website. Signup information can also be found by texting JOIN to 1-833-35-B-SAFE (352-7233). Top Stories

Stay Connected