Government of Canada helping communities address rising methamphetamine use
Nearly $7M to support treatment and harm reduction services as well as increase knowledge on methamphetamine use
June 17, 2021 | Ottawa, ON | Public Health Agency of Canada
In recent years, methamphetamine use and related harms have increased in many communities, especially in Western and Central Canada. The latest evidence also shows that, since the onset of the pandemic, the use of stimulant drugs, like methamphetamine, has increased. The Government of Canada is deeply concerned about this increased use and the risks it poses to the health and safety of people who use methamphetamine, and their communities.
Today, on behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, Jennifer O'Connell, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, announced nearly $7 million in federal funding for 13 projects to help people and communities address methamphetamine use and reduce the harms associated with it in Western and Central Canada. Seven of the funded projects focus specifically on the needs of Indigenous communities.
Treatment and recovery for people who use methamphetamine can be particularly challenging, due to fewer treatment options and the significant stigma they face. These new initiatives will help bridge gaps in a number of areas by developing and implementing treatment and harm reduction services; generating much-needed information on methamphetamine use; and developing and disseminating resources for communities, including those that are specific to Indigenous communities, women and youth. Together, these projects will improve access to and the quality of care for people struggling with methamphetamine use.
The Government of Canada continues to work with all levels of government, partners, stakeholders, people with lived and living experience and organizations in communities across the country to prevent harms associated with substance use.
“Substance use is a public health issue. Those who use drugs deserve our compassion and support, especially considering the significant stigma they face and that often prevents people from getting services and help. These organizations do incredibly important work to support people who use drugs, including methamphetamine. When all people can access safe and respectful services, communities are healthier and safer.”
The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health
“Many communities have seen methamphetamine use worsening during the COVID-19 pandemic. The investments we are making today will provide much-needed access to care and supports for individuals and communities struggling with methamphetamine use.”
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health
“Manitoba communities have experienced the devastating effects of methamphetamine use for some time. Together with these organizations, we are helping to provide targeted supports and resources for people using methamphetamine, including those that are specific to Indigenous communities, youth and under-served rural communities.”
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Western Economic Diversification Canada) and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change (Canada Water Agency)
“Thunderbird Partnership Foundation is invested in supporting First Nations capacity in responding to methamphetamine challenges. Through two overlapping national projects, we will better understand the impact of opioids and methamphetamine on First Nations communities and develop an educational training program and resource material using Indigenous knowledge and culture-based practice to support community based capacity. The training will be developed as a "train the trainer" model and will engage First Nations workforce.”
Carol Hopkins, Executive Director
Thunderbird Partnership Foundation
“All too often, health and social systems are designed in a way that institutionalizes barriers to care for the individuals who need it most. Meeting the Moment is an exciting initiative that allows Nine Circles and its community health partners to meaningfully engage populations who have long been isolated and work together to build a model of care that will work for the client, service provider and community.”
Mike Payne, Executive Director
Nine Circles Community Health Centre
“Our project ‘In Good Health,' was inspired by our Elders as a way to inspire our people to strive for wellness. We recognize the multi-generational health and social issues we face as Indigenous Peoples and acknowledge the recent unearthing of truth can no longer be covered. Through our Indigenous-led project, we will reach people, in-person and virtually, to seek solutions for complex issues including polysubstance use.”
Denise Lambert, Coordinator
Sandy Beach Kimamow Atoskanow Foundation (KAF)
“One of the most impactful interventions for someone struggling with the use of methamphetamines is supported attachment to a primary care medical home. In recognition of this, the Methamphetamine Client Transitions to Primary Care project has developed structured pathways, supporting tools, and foundational education on methamphetamine use and care. These resources will enable these essential attachments to be made consistently from hospital emergency departments and inpatient units, and detoxification/recovery centres where individuals with methamphetamine concerns frequently receive care.”
Mark Snaterse, Executive Director, Addictions and Mental Health Edmonton Zone, Alberta Health Services
Dr. Suzanne Squires, Family Physician, President, Westview Primary Care Network
“Provincial Health Services Authority's Correction Health Services is utilizing Health Canada funding to provide group treatment within a criminal justice setting to people with problematic methamphetamine use. The majority of the people served by this project will be Indigenous.”
Roy Ang, Regional Director
Correctional Health Services, Public Health Services Authority – British Columbia
Methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive synthetic stimulant drug controlled under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Harmful use of methamphetamine is often driven by a number of underlying factors including poverty, lack of housing, experiences with trauma, and co-occurring mental health issues.
Since 2019, methamphetamine and cocaine have become the two most commonly seized substances by law enforcement in Canada. Data from supervised consumption sites across Canada also show that methamphetamine is often the second most commonly reported substance consumed, after opioids. Meanwhile, more than half of all accidental opioid toxicity deaths in 2020 also involved a stimulant.
A 2019 study on the impacts of methamphetamine found some Indigenous communities across Canada are increasingly reporting significant health and safety issues related to methamphetamine use.
To further help people experiencing substance use and tackle the ongoing overdose crisis, the Government recently announced in Budget 2021 an additional $116 million for the Substance Use and Addictions Program. The funding would support a range of innovative approaches to harm reduction, treatment, and prevention at the community level.
This builds on $66 million invested in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement for community-based organizations responding to substance use issues, including helping them provide frontline services in a COVID-19 context.
In addition to this funding, Health Canada is providing more than $5.2 million over four years to River Stone Recovery Centre for its safer supply project in Fredericton, New Brunswick that offers a pharmaceutical alternative to toxic, illegal methamphetamine and opioids.
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health
Public Health Agency of Canada
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