Alana Ross – MLA’s Report
Since resuming the sitting of the Legislative Session, we have debated the Speech from the Throne, which sets out our government’s path for the coming years. While the speech focuses on managing through to the end of the pandemic, it also sets out the path to provide programs and services you deserve. To accomplish this, we will continue to work to build a strong economy, providing opportunities for our future.
In the past weeks, I have been meeting with constituents, business owners, community organizations, and other concerned citizens about our downtown core’s challenges. Be assured I have taken these concerns to my colleagues in Regina.
While I know these challenges did not come to pass overnight, I know our government is working to provide help to everyone involved. Currently, we are looking to partner with charitable organizations and third-party providers with the goal of adding another 150 treatment spaces over the next three years. These will provide more support for those seeking addictions treatments and detox services.
The Throne Speech addresses our commitment to harm reductions strategies with the increased access to test strips for fentanyl and benzodiazepine. These strips can detect the presence of fentanyl and benzo in street drugs – substances linked to increased overdose deaths in Saskatchewan. Fentanyl is 50-100 times more toxic than other opioids. People who use drugs often do not know if fentanyl is present. It cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted.
A negative result on a test strip does not guarantee the substance is safe. Test strips only check if fentanyl or benzo are present in the portion of the drugs tested. They do not detect other drugs and do not tell you the amount of fentanyl or benzo present in the substance. These strips are an additional tool to limit potential overdoses.
We will continue to work with community pharmacies to increase accessibility to the Take Home Naloxone Program. This provides friends, families, and the public with the means of saving the life of someone who is having an opioid overdose. Opioids affect the part of the brain that controls breathing, so when too much of an opioid is taken, breathing slows or stops. Naloxone reverses the effects of an opioid overdose temporarily, restoring breathing in a few minutes. It is not a narcotic, is non-addictive, and has no effect if opioids are not present. Naloxone is a safe medication with few side effects.
In the coming months, the Ministry of Health will be developing a new website to provide information for people at risk of an overdose. I will keep you posted on its development.
One theme of the Throne Speech that is of particular importance to our area is that of a stronger Saskatchewan. A stronger Saskatchewan is rooted in creating a business environment open to opportunities for growth and investment. An example is found in the recent timber sector investments, which will bring considerable opportunities for people in our community. Paper Excellence $550 million investment to upgrade its pulp mill in Prince Albert will create an estimated 1,650 new jobs and One Sky Forest Products plan to build a new $250 million Oriented Strand Board mill in Prince Albert will generate more than 700 jobs.
The growth of these and other sectors are going to provide valuable jobs for Prince Albert and area, it offers hope and opportunity for our young people in Saskatchewan. As always, if you have questions, comments, concerns or require assistance with provincial government programs or services, I encourage you to contact our Constituency Office. You can find us at 7 – 598 15th St. E. We can also be contacted by telephone at 306-763-7677 or by e-mail email@example.com.