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Government of Yukon announces residential Managed Alcohol Program

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by ahnationtalk on January 31, 2024210 Views


The Government of Yukon is pleased to announce the implementation of a residential Managed Alcohol Program (MAP), a key harm reduction component of the Substance Use Health Emergency Strategy.

This program is an important step forward in addressing the complex issue of severe alcohol use disorder (AUD) among vulnerable people in the Yukon, particularly for those who have not had success with other treatments. MAP will function as a clinical initiative, focusing on structured care for individuals with severe alcohol dependency. It aims to help those facing barriers to basic care and support due to poverty and homelessness.

This new initiative aligns with the Yukon Substance Use Health Emergency Strategy and Minister McPhee’s 2023 mandate letter, reflecting the Government of Yukon’s commitment to address health and social challenges through innovative public health solutions. The MAP is currently scheduled to begin receiving patients later this spring.

The program is expected to increase social stability and reduce non-beverage alcohol consumption, hospital admissions, emergency department visits and interactions with the RCMP. It seeks to provide a more dignified and stable life for its participants while reducing social and health-related costs associated with severe AUD.

The residential MAP will provide services in Whitehorse at what is currently the St. Elias Adult Group Home, located on Hoge Street. Renovations are underway. This location offers a safe, supportive setting conducive to the program’s objectives. The program, under supervision, will deliver medically prescribed doses of beverage alcohol at regular intervals to participants, along with health care and social support services.

In line with our commitment to providing quality care for all Yukoners, the current residents of the St. Elias Adult Group Home are being relocated to other community-based group homes in Whitehorse. These new homes will enhance residents’ wellbeing and continue to offer personalized care and support and uphold a consistent care model, with emphasis made on ensuring a seamless transition for all residents. Residents and caregivers were informed of this long-planned move in early January 2024.

The MAP has been developed in close collaboration with health care professionals, Yukon RCMP and community partners, including First Nations governments. Their input has helped to shape a program that is culturally sensitive and aligned with community needs. The Government of Yukon remains committed to informing Yukoners on progress made with respect to this important initiative.

With this residential Managed Alcohol Program, we continue to see the Yukon’s healthcare system transform. This is a testament to our government’s continued commitment to coordinated, innovative and person-centred health solutions and services for Yukoners. The Managed Alcohol Program is about compassionately addressing the needs of our community members who are grappling with severe alcohol use disorder and guiding them and their families towards a more stable, safe and healthier path. This program, rooted in clinical evidence, is an important step in our broader strategy to combat the Substance Use Health Emergency and enhance public health, wellness and safety across the territory. Thank you to all of the healthcare partners and stakeholders whose input over the past year has helped shape this important program.

Minister of Health and Social Services Tracy-Anne McPhee

Managed alcohol programs are an important component of a spectrum of services that are needed for people living with substance use disorders. Both treatment and prevention are important to address the array of harms and negative health consequences of alcohol use. It is encouraging to see this addition to the spectrum of treatment services offered to Yukoners.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Sudit Ranade

This Managed Alcohol Program is a great first step towards a harm reduction approach for Yukoners who struggle with alcohol. I’m proud to see another CASA commitment leading with compassion and understanding for vulnerable folks in the territory. We’ve seen this work in cities across Canada and it’s long overdue here in Whitehorse.

Leader of the Yukon NDP Kate White

  • The Managed Alcohol Program (MAP) in the Yukon is a clinical initiative aimed at harm reduction and structured care for individuals with severe alcohol use disorder. It will serve up to 10 live-in clients.
  • There are 42 Managed Alcohol Programs operating across Canada (as of February 2022), which are considered part of a national trend in harm reduction strategies.
  • MAP’s implementation in the Yukon is in line with the mandate outlined in the Minister of Health and Social Services’ mandate letter for 2023 and supports the commitments made in the Confidence and Supply Agreement 2023.
  • The Yukon’s adoption of MAP addresses its high rates of alcohol consumption, which are among the highest in Canada, leading to significant health and social challenges.
  • In response to modern deinstitutionalization practices, the new group homes for transitioning residents of St. Elias Adult Group Home will continue to provide 24/7 support in smaller, community-based settings, emphasizing a home-like environment.
  • Over the past year, the Department of Health and Social Services has begun offering managed alcohol services at a Whitehorse long-term care home.
  • MAP’s annual budget, once it is fully operational, is projected to be just over $2 million.

Renée Francoeur
Cabinet Communications

Zachary Burke
Communications, Health and Social Services


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