Pubdate: Fri, 12 Aug 2005
Source: Southwest Booster, The (CN SN)
Copyright: Southwest Booster 2005
Author: Scott Anderson
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine - Canada)
Bookmark: (Treatment)
Bookmark: (Youth)


Saskatchewan has new hope in fighting the battle against substance

Last Thursday the provincial government unveiled Project Hope, a
focused effort to battle substance abuse through improved treatment,
prevention, education, and law enforcement.

Project Hope, which will be implemented at a cost of $10 million per
year for the next three years, represents a 60 per cent increase for
addiction prevention and treatment.

"Our goal, simply put, is to create in Saskatchewan that place where a
child may grow up, free from addiction. And where any individual who
is trapped by substance abuse or addiction can find the treatment
that's effective and early," Saskatchewan Premier Lorne Calvert said
during a phone conference on Aug. 4.

Project Hope is based on the 15 recommendations contained in the
report Healthy Choices in a Healthy Community by Legislative Secretary
on Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Graham Addley.

"We are taking this problem very seriously. Alcohol, substance abuse,
drug abuse, and now the new factor of Crystal Meth, these substances
are destroying the future of many of our young people. They are still
factors in fetal alcohol (syndrome), they are still factors in family
break-ups. Way too many of those who are occupying our jail cells
today are there because of addiction. We're going to take this problem
very seriously," Calvert said.

"Project Hope wants to create a better future for the young people of
Saskatchewan. I see it as one of the Centennial legacies."

The measures in Project Hope fall within four core areas: prevention,
treatment, co-ordination and central support, and supply reduction.

The program features expanded treatment options for the province,

- - development of a 12-bed youth stabilization unit in

- - development of a 15-bed inpatient residential youth treatment
facility in Prince Albert, plus a review to see if a similar project
should be developed in southern Saskatchewan.

The program pledges to go after the source of substance abuse through
the hiring of two additional officers to enforce The Safer Communities
and Neighbourhoods Act along with four additional drug enforcement

A portion of the project plans to make it more difficult to
manufacture and distribute drugs by promoting the province's toll-free
hotline for reporting drug houses.

The formation of a new Alcohol and Drug Prevention and Education
Directorate will coordinate a series of initiatives to fight drug and
alcohol abuse. These include:

l Prevention and information resources;

l Education and prevention staff and resources for both regional
health authorities and the province at-large;

l Providing schools with resource officers who can directly help young
people at risk of involvement with substance abuse.

Calvert said Project Hope "will provide for significantly enhanced
treatment opportunities, particularly for youth, where gaps existed.
Will make access to services like detox much more available for people
when they need it. The services go beyond treatment to outreach into

"We see Project Hope as an open-ended project," Calvert said. "As we
move forward, as we work with communities, as we work with people in
the field, we are anxious to learn and develop as we go. We think
Project Hope represents a very, very strong sense of

Funding for Project Hope comes from general revenues, and Calvert
noted this is an ideal way to spend the extra revenue currently being
generated in the province.

"Without doubt we are enjoying some new revenues from our resource
revenues, and we believe that this is one of the places that those
kind of new revenues should find a home," he said. "These dollars we
count as a real investment in lifestyle and quality healthcare for the

Calvert also said that government needs to get a better handle on the
depth of drug and alcohol problems in the province.

"We do know that Saskatchewan people have a higher dependency rate on
alcohol than anybody else in Canada. We do know that abuse and
dependency of our young people is growing, for a time it was
declining. It is growing. We do know, just through law enforcement,
that we have the buds of a real problem around crystal meth."

Calvert has asked Addley to oversee the implementation of his
recommendations through Project Hope. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake