The Saskatchewan government says it will stop handing out crack pipes and telling people how to do drugs in alignment with its new approach to mental health.In a press release, the government said the new Action Plan for Mental Health and Addictions reoriented its approach to a "Recovery-Oriented System of Care" whose focus was "getting more people the treatment they need to overcome addictions and live healthy, safe lives in recovery.""The provision of pipes for smoking methamphetamine, crack cocaine and other illicit drugs will be discontinued. The practice of providing materials with instructions on how to use illicit drugs will also be discontinued. No third-party organization will be permitted to use funding provided by the Ministry of Health or the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) for these purposes," the release explained.Mental Health and Addictions Minister Tim McLeod suggested the former approach signalled an acceptance of drug use that was not helpful.“Providing taxpayer-funded pipes for smoking illicit drugs and instructions for how to use them sends the wrong message to people who we want to help,” McLeod said.“Instead, the message coming from the health care system should be that there is hope for recovery, and there is help available through treatment.”Announced in Fall 2023, Saskatchewan’s new Action Plan for Mental Health and Addictions will add at least 500 more addictions treatment spaces to the publicly funded health care system to double capacity for treatment. A total of 168 treatment spaces have been announced so far, including 26 post-treatment spaces at St. Joseph's Addiction Recovery Centre in Estevan, 32 intensive outpatient treatment spaces through Possibilities Recovery Centre in Saskatoon, 36 virtual treatment spaces through EHN Canada, 14 inpatient treatment spaces at the former Drumming Hill Youth Centre facility in North Battleford, and 60 inpatient treatment spaces through EHN Canada near Lumsden, close to Regina. Work is also underway to implement a central intake system to make treatment more easily accessible to people when they need it.“The goal of the health care system should always be getting people the treatment they need to overcome addictions and live healthy, safe lives in recovery,” McLeod said. “How the health care system responds to people who have yet to walk the path to recovery needs to strike a balance with public safety priorities.”Naloxone will continue to be provided for free through the Take Home Naloxone program. Since it was introduced in 2015, more than 40,000 people have been trained to use naloxone and nearly 10,000 overdoses have been reversed by members of the public with naloxone provided by the program. Take Home Naloxone kits are available free of charge at more than 400 locations across Saskatchewan, with more locations to come.Test strips for fentanyl and benzodiazepine contamination will also continue to be available, as will drug checking infrared spectrometres, to assist law enforcement and the health care system with monitoring the toxicity of illicit drugs and to help users better understand the risks associated with illicit drugs. A new Provincial Drug Alert System was recently launched to further enhance these efforts.Needle exchanges will be required to operate on an exchange basis, instead of handing new ones out for free. The government says the core purpose is to prevent litter and the spread of bloodborne illnesses such as HIV and hepatitis C. Savings that result will be redirected to enhancing needle pickup services.To support people struggling with addictions and other at-risk individuals in the community, new Community Wellness Buses will be introduced later this year to provide primary health care services for addicts and at-risk people, help accessibility to services and supports, and make referrals for other services that they may need.