Grosvenor Park United Church, Saskatoon, Treaty Six, requested that their petition to the provincial government be shared with all members of Living Skies Regional Council, with the agreement of other advocates in other communities of faith. It addresses strong concerns with the provincial government’s continued failure to fund supervised drug consumption sites, particularly Prairie Harm Reduction (PHR), and the Newo Yotina Friendship Centre.
Please click here to download the PDF petition, and share freely. Instructions are included on page 1. Please note the tight deadline for getting this to the Legislature.
This is a controversial topic, a difficult one, and a very important one. Overdose deaths throughout Canada and SK continue to go ever upwards, leaving grieving loved ones and the loss of so many lives to live in their wake. In 2021 the Regional Council endorsed a national UCC learning session on harm reduction and decriminalization of drugs for personal use. Commissioners to General Council 44 will be considering a proposal calling on the United Church to adopt policy in favour of harm reduction and decriminalization of drugs for personal use.
PHR notes, “Saskatchewan has the highest HIV rate in Canada, which is fueled by injection drug use. This is further compounded by the crystal meth and overdose epidemic that the province is currently facing.” Almost 450 people died of drug overdoses in Saskatchewan in 2021. This number continues to grow each year. At a supervised site, people can check whether their drugs are contaminated, access clean needles and medical supervision, and emergency help should they overdose. They can also access counselling and other supports.
Many thanks to members of Grosvenor Park, Rev Margaret McKechney, and supporters in Regina for getting the ball rolling.