CBC: 1,200% surge in meth-related hospital visits tied to increased violence

Sep 19, 2018

Average number of monthly meth-related ER visits has spiked from 15 in 2013 to 207 in 2018

The Manitoba Nurses Union is calling for heightened security in emergency departments to manage higher rates of violence against staff by patients coming to ERs with meth-induced psychosis. (Motortion Films/Shutterstock)

The Manitoba Nurses Union is calling for heightened security in Winnipeg emergency departments to manage an increase in violence they say is related to a more than 1,200 per cent surge in meth-related visits in the past five years.

In 2013, emergency departments across the city had an average of 15 meth-related visits per month, according to data gathered by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. So far this year, that number has climbed to an average of 207 visits per month…

'Mixed messages' for security staff: MGEU

The union representing other health-care workers in the emergency department said they're also facing more violent situations on the job due to the meth crisis.

"Every employer has a moral and legal responsibility to ensure that workers have the protections, training, equipment and authority to safely deal with any violent outbursts by people who are high or have meth-induced psychosis," said Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union president Michelle Gawronsky in a statement.

MGEU also represents the HSC security personnel.

About half of the people visiting the ER high on meth had been there for the same reason in the past year. About half of those people had also been to an ER for a meth-related reason in the month before their latest visit.

"Unfortunately, too many of our members are getting mixed messages from their employers — they are feeling pressured to intervene in potentially dangerous situations but often don't have the protections, training, equipment or authority to do so safely," Gawronsky said.

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