The Opposition NDP is calling on the Saskatchewan Party government to create a strategy to address the growing number of addictions and overdose deaths in the province.

Mental Health and Addictions Critic Danielle Chartier said in a news release on Thursday that the strategy should provide improved access to naloxone kits, eliminate wait-times for detox and introduce addictions emergency rooms.

“When someone struggling with addiction asks for help, that help needs to be there immediately, not several weeks later,” Chartier said.

Overdose deaths in Regina have increased to 63 from 33 over the past two months. Last year, there were 21 deaths reported.

Regina police have responded to 712 overdoses so far this year, up from 82 overdoses for 2019.

The province has said previously that investing in addictions and mental health is a priority.

It has provided $435 million for mental health and addictions services, and has provided supports for harm reduction services and access to naloxone.

However, Chartier said the government is ignoring these problems by choosing not to fund safe consumption sites or addressing the lack of treatment in northern, remote and rural communities.

“An addictions strategy is desperately needed, and any further delay simply means more Saskatchewan people will die,” she said.