Prairie Harm Reduction, Saskatchewan Polytechnic and Saskatchewan Association for Safe Workplaces and Health (SASWH) have partnered to address stigma, discrimination and racism against those seeking help with substance use.
“The hope and purpose of this is to equip frontline service providers of people who work with people who use substances with the tools and resources they need to be able to offer the best possible programs and engage people. who use substances better in our community,” said Kayla DeMong, executive director of Prairie Harm Reduction in Saskatoon.
After receiving total federal funding of $1.4 million, they are launching a five-year project to develop new resources and training for care providers and frontline workers at no additional cost to them.
“Addiction is something we see more and more,” said Gerry Youzwa, director of education solutions at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. “Providing culturally safe and stigma-free support services is a very important part of keeping everyone safe.”
Demong said each partner will provide a position to the project, as well as a harm reduction educator to work with the team to develop and create the program and courses.
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The tools will be free online and accessible for health care, social and human services, as well as community organizations.
The new resources will be aimed at students pursuing training in these professions, as well as employees already in practice.
“Our goal will be to launch in the spring of 2024 with the goal of training up to 600 students entering frontline trades, as well as training over 300 frontline workers,” Youzwa said.
The project started in April and is currently in the development research stage.
“We are preparing to hold focus groups in the new year across the province – looking at what each region of the province needs, what resources they lack, what issues they see, etc.,” DeMong said.
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