A report released Friday recommends expanding drug treatment courts and 24/7 safe spaces as two ways to reduce the use of illicit drugs in Manitoba.

The report is from the Illicit Drug Task Force, which was launched in December 2018 by all three levels of government in order to devise a plan to tackle the meth and illicit drug crisis in the province.

On Monday, Winnipeg’s chief corporate services officer Michael Jack said the task force “had the right people who understand what the treatment and spectrum looks like.”

“We had people around the private side of treatment, we had some people involved in institutional treatment, we had the head of the WRHA,” he said.

The report’s recommendations include:

  • Fostering safer communities by educating landlords, developing community safety networks, and promoting Crime Stoppers;
  • Prevention through social development by developing recreation opportunities for youth, and engaging with businesses to provide employment opportunities;
  • Improving management of mental health and addictions through 24/7 safe spaces;
  • Expanding drug treatment courts, as well as related supports;
  • Disrupting the distribution of illicit drugs through joint enforcement and disruption teams, improving data sharing and analytics, looking at how information sharing can help communities, and amending legislation so those who are involved in the illicit drug trade don’t profit from unlawful activities;
  • Building capacity across a range of services by delivering detox, medical transition and treatment housing; limiting barriers to treatment; expanding RAAM clinics, and increasing Telehealth services;
  • Integrating community outreach services by developing a program, creating additional withdrawal management services and looking at whether The Intoxicated Persons Detentions Act should be modified;
  • Expanding public health efforts by implementing culturally appropriate programming, creating centralized harm reduction supply distribution, and looking at how to use peer experience and support;
  • Collecting and sharing data by improving surveillance systems and developing an alert system;
  • Enhanced technology and communications strategies, which include using technology and developing a strategy;
  • Advance tri-governmental partnership in support of the recommendations.

The report said the recommendations are focused on the following four pillars: prevention, education, treatment, and enforcement and disruption of supply.

To read the full report, go to the City of Winnipeg website:

- With files from CTV's Jeff Keele.