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Record-breaking year looms for drug toxicity deaths in Saskatchewan: coroners service report – CBC News

Nov 15, 2023

Health experts say prevention measures needed, while province focuses on treatment

Emile Gariepy didn’t have to look at the Saskatchewan Coroners Service’s latest report to know drug toxicity deaths continue to rise across the province.

As a paramedic and the harm-reduction manager at Regina’s Nēwo-Yōtina Friendship Centre, which houses a safe consumption site, he sees the grip the opioid crisis has on people living with addictions.

“They’re all human beings. They all cry. They all have terrible days and they still have good days as well,” Gariepy said in an interview with CBC News.

“We’re not protecting their lives, so they’re just dropping like flies.”

The coroners service recorded 395 confirmed or suspected drug toxicity deaths between Jan. 1 and Nov. 2. That’s 27 more than in all of 2022, and a dozen shy of the total in 2021 — the deadliest year on record for these fatalities in Saskatchewan.

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