Sexually transmitted infections on the rise in Winnipeg

Drug trafficking problem is on a rise in Canada for the last couple of years. Opioid use continues to be a public-health crisis with just under 4,000 deaths across Canada in 2017 and over 3,000 in 2016.

The NDP released information it obtained via Freedom of Information requests from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority indicating an “unprecedented” spike in blood-borne diseases that were linked to meth use.

In 2018, the rate of syphilis in Winnipeg was four times higher than it was in 2017, according to the WRHA. Dr. Pierre Plourde, medical officer of health with the WRHA, said these rates are the highest he’s seen in 20 years.

According to the WRHA, almost two-thirds of those affected live in the downtown and Point Douglas areas of the city, and almost half reported using drugs, mainly methamphetamine

The documents showed illnesses like HIV, syphilis and Hepatitis B and C rose dramatically over the past year — including a recent outbreak of Hepatitis B “almost exclusively linked to injection drug use.”

The WRHA documents show the health authority is on track to give out roughly two million needles this year — but it said: “the current demand exceeds the supply budget by approximately four times.” “It is serious,” said Medical Officer of Health Pierre Plourde. “We are seeing a direct link between injection drug use… and the spread of infections that can spread via shared needles.”

The health authority reports a case of Hepatitis C costs the healthcare system more than $40,000, while a single case of HIV costs roughly $1 million, whereas a new needle costs just nine cents. The documents from the WRHA also show emergency room visits by patients who had used meth were up significantly in 2018, which the health authority said places “extreme pressures on emergency services, hospitals, and addictions resources.”

Jenna Werch from the Aboriginal Youth Opportunities was speaking about the real threat of methamphetamine addiction of teenagers and how it affects not only their actions today but also their lives in the future. Due to criminal records in the past, some young people, even after they overcome the addiction, trying to come back to normal life, will get problems with further education or trying to get a job, most of the employers will check criminal record and most likely will refuse to hire a meth junkie or a criminal.

Methamphetamine is a real problem in Winnipeg, the majority of people involved are youth and older teenagers. There is a study conducted by Winnipeg Police department about how people on meth are no longer productive, so they have to find other ways to get money to fuel their addiction and get more drugs. People on meth turn to pity theft and other, more serious crimes. Bike theft, residential break-ins, garage theft is now a rising problem in the city. Just recently there were a number of bike thefts.

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