Thank you very much.
The impact of methamphetamine on the prairies has been particularly devastating and certainly increasing year by year. I've provided a breakdown to you of the information on the supply side, the demand demographic that we're seeing with regard to the individuals who are using, the impact with regard to HIV, hepatitis C and IV drug use, keeping in mind that approximately 70% of the HIV that we see in this province is transmitted through IV drug use, driven primarily by opioids but increasingly by the injection of methamphetamine.
The people we have dying from AIDS are those who, in spite of the fact that care is available to them, are typically in psychosocial chaos because of their stimulant use. They can't simply make it to the pharmacy each day if they're on opioid agonist therapy to take their antiretroviral therapy for their HIV, and we lose them. We have a high mortality rate.
There are treatment challenges with regard to methamphetamine that are somewhat unique. Because of the potency of the stimulant, because of how long-lasting it is, it has significant challenges in the acute intoxication phase. At the extreme end, you will see people with psychosis who are very disordered, agitated, paranoid and potentially violent, but certainly many people under the influence take a small amount every day and are chronically impacted by its effects.
Also with regard to the acute treatment is the challenge that it poses in emergency departments when people present there, and the need for a calmer space for intervention if they're psychotic that doesn't necessarily require psychiatric intervention but does require protocols.
Then, of course, there's the phenomenon of sensitization where with increased use, people may be more inclined to have seizures, psychosis or what we call repetitive stereotypical behaviour.
Finally, there are challenges with regards to the stimulant withdrawal, not so much the acute withdrawal, which can indeed be problematic, but more what we call the post-acute withdrawal. Once the substance is out of the body, the problem then is what's happening in the brain in reverting to normal, which can take weeks or months. This is a high relapse period, a time of craving and a time where if there isn't adequate support, they're more likely to relapse. I've provided you with brain scans that show some of the changes that occur there. One could frame it as a form of chemically mediated acquired brain injury when you have a severe addiction.
I think what's important here is looking at what potentially could be a federal role in closing the gaps in care. I don't know if you want me to continue to explore them now or if you would prefer to explore them after others have made their introductory comments.