Today NDP Health Critic Vicki Mowat called on the Sask. Party government to reverse recent cuts to addictions counselor training at Saskatchewan Polytechnic in light of new numbers from the coroner’s office showing an increase in the number of deaths from overdose.

“Before COVID-19, Saskatchewan families were already stressed and stretched, with many struggling to access timely mental health and addictions supports,” said Mowat. “Now, we need addictions counselors more than ever, but because of this cut, we’ll have fewer. That’s the wrong approach and the government needs to reverse this senseless cut now.”

Saskatchewan Polytechnic cut 37 positions in June, including addictions counseling instructors.

According to the coroner’s office, Saskatchewan has had more confirmed and suspected overdose deaths this year than in any of the previous 10 years, information that was released quietly earlier this month without comment from the government.

“We’re facing a mental health and addictions crisis in this province, and the silence from this government is deafening, whether it’s voting down our bill for a suicide prevention strategy, or these latest cuts to addictions counselor training. This government has no plan for addressing this ongoing tragedy and no clue for how to make it better. We deserve a government that fixes problems, instead of ignoring them.”