Sask. looks to Australia for crystal meth education as part of broader changes to address ‘crisis’ – Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan is looking to Australia, which is grappling with a crystal meth crisis, to guide new public education materials being created as part of broader changes to loosen the drug’s grip on this province.

A provincial drug task force set up in May is creating new treatment protocols, training and educational materials to improve supports for crystal meth users in Saskatchewan.

The group is also finalizing its recommendations on the best approach to treating meth addictions in Saskatchewan, based on research it has been conducting since May.

To help guide new public education materials being developed for Saskatchewan, co-chair Tracy Muggli said the task force has been communicating with the Australian Cracks in the Ice campaign.

The Australian campaign was set up by a national task force created in that country, where one study suggests there were an estimated 268,000 regular meth users between 2013-2014.

A report by Public Safety Canada estimates the number of meth users in Canada is between about 52,000 and 77,000.

Educating the public

Muggli said the Saskatchewan group has sought permission from the Australian campaign to reference some of its material.

The Saskatchewan task force is creating webinars, an infographic and other materials to help build public awareness and improve support for meth users.

“I expect that we’ll probably be utilizing [representatives from the Australian campaign] more going forward and connecting with them to understand how they were able to work on their issue,” she said.  

The new educational materials will not be part of a “campaign” but rather distributed in a targeted way through the health region and other relevant organizations.  

Muggli, who is also the director of mental health and addictions services for the Saskatoon branch of the Saskatchewan Health Authority,  said it was just one of a number of changes being driven by the task force.

Saskatchewan has seen rapid growth in the number of crystal meth-related charges since about 2015. (Steven Silcox/CBC News)

New protocols and treatment approach

Back in May, Muggli spoke to CBC News in detail about measures she felt would help improve treatment amid what she called a crystal meth “crisis” in Saskatchewan, and specifically in Saskatoon.  

Some of those measures are being implemented by the new working group, including research to identify the best crystal meth-specific approach to treating addictions.

“Overall…

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