Our Work

Statement from Matt MacFarlane on King Government’s Failure to Deliver Addiction Recovery Supports Across PEI
Opposition Green Caucus
June 5, 2024


June 5, 2024

Statement from Matt MacFarlane on King Government’s Failure to Deliver Addiction Recovery Supports Across PEI

Charlottetown, PE – The Dennis King government has failed to successfully implement addiction supports here on PEI, including both harm reduction and treatment options. Harm reduction keeps Islanders safe until they are ready or able to access treatment for their addiction. It is an important service that saves lives and reduces healthcare costs. However, offering very basic harm reduction services, like clean needles and alcohol swabs, without also offering accessible treatment options, does not go far enough to address growing rates of addiction on PEI.

This past weekend, I was disappointed to see PC caucus members willing to throw a community group offering harm reduction services, paid for by the government, under the bus. This group is only trying to help, and these same PC members have been largely silent on holding this government to account for its lack of action and spending on treatment options for Islanders. In 2019, Premier King famously promised “shovels in the ground” on day one for a new Hillsborough hospital. Five years later, those shovels have yet to break ground.

Addiction funding has changed little under this government. Since Premier King took office in 2019, funding to addiction services increased by 30%. This sounds impressive until you take a closer look and factor in inflation. In comparison, the Premier’s Office saw a 50% increase in its budget. Last time I checked, Premier King promised to make mental health and addictions his priority, not the Premier’s Office.

The Provincial Addiction Treatment Facility in Mount Herbert remains the only inpatient treatment facility on the Island, with only 16 detox beds. In just one year, in 2023, 816 Islanders were admitted to the Mount Herbert facility. There is a clear need. There have been calls for additional detox beds in Summerside, and western and eastern PEI, but to date, no additional beds have been created in those communities. I hear from Islanders who are told they need to wait months for a detox bed and that they will need to travel to Charlottetown to access the treatment. These Islanders are struggling with addiction and want help but cannot get it under this government.

For all the promises and talk about making mental health and addictions a priority, we see little action from this government. Government cannot continue to offload harm reduction onto our community groups while not also offering real, accessible treatment options for Islanders. We need a comprehensive approach that includes both robust harm reduction services and readily available treatment facilities to truly support Islanders dealing with addiction.

Matt MacFarlane
Third Party Critic for Health
MLA Borden-Kinkora


For media inquiries, please contact:
Katie Rankin
Chief of Staff
Office of the Third Party
Tel: (902) 213-6378
Email: kerankin@assembly.pe.ca

The Opposition Green Caucus of Prince Edward Island provides a crucial role in the governing of our province. The caucus is made up of Green Party MLAs elected by Islanders.

We strive to offer informed and intelligent debate and proposals that are evidence-based and data-informed. Through respect and integrity, we seek to improve the work and efforts of government on behalf of all Islanders.

Get Updates from Us

Sign up for email updates on our work in the PEI legislature and upcoming events.

Office of the Third Party
4th Floor, Coles Building
175 Richmond Street, Charlottetown
Prince Edward Island, Canada