Support needed as Sask. faces high opioid hospitalization rate
'We don't have adequate resources to address this problem,' says Dr. Peter Butt
People in Saskatchewan who are battling addictions to opioids need more support, says an addictions consultant.
A report released Wednesday indicates the province is facing the highest rate of hospitalizations from opioid poisoning across Canada.
"We don't have adequate resources to address this problem," said Dr. Peter Butt, an addictions consultant with the Saskatoon Health Region.
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The Canadian Institute for Health Information and the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse report that from 2014 to 2015, there were 20.5 hospitalizations per 100,000 people in Saskatchewan.
Butt said he was surprised to see Saskatchewan in the lead.
As it is, Butt said there is no capacity in the treatment system, as patients are already spending several months on wait lists.
He also pointed to problems those patients face accessing mental health care.
"Frequently, the nature of a severe addiction is chaos … it takes a fair bit of support to help people to get into a recovery mode," he said.
Butt doesn't blame the system, however, saying it's everyone's responsibility to demand changes.
Fentanyl concerns police
For the Saskatoon Police Service, fentanyl continues to be a big concern, as even a small amount of the drug can be deadly for the person who takes it.
"If you're involved in using fentanyl, you don't know what you're getting," said Alyson Edwards, a police spokeswoman.
Edwards said the drug unit has been targeting the people selling fentanyl.
But, she added, "Unfortunately, where there is a demand, people will be selling the drug."