Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health

Dr. Brendan Hanley

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Last Updated: April 02, 2019

The office of the Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health is responsible for the Department of Health and Social Services' legislated responsibility to protect and promote the public's health in a variety of areas.

Chief Medical Officer warns against purple heroin

Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, is encouraging Yukon residents who intend to use drugs to use extreme care.

Fentanyl or carfentanil may be present on Yukon streets in the form of purple heroin. You might not know but your drug of choice – whether heroin, cocaine, oxycodone or other drugs could be cut with fentanyl or carfentanil, in powder, liquid or pill form. 

Overdoses can happen suddenly but overdose deaths are preventable. Free take-home naloxone kits are easily available across Yukon, including in all health centres and retail pharmacies. Naloxone, learning to recognize the signs of an overdose, and calling 911 can save someone’s life.

“If you purchase purple heroin, avoid using or use extreme care. If you are going to use any drugs always use with someone else around to help if you overdose. If you must use alone try to get someone you trust to check in with you after taking the hit,” said Hanley. “Blood Ties can check a small amount of your drug for fentanyl or carfentanil if you bring it to them before using”.

For more information, including on where you can access a naloxone kit and training, please visit: Know your source or Fentanyl and Naloxone Information Blood Ties Four Directions


Chief Medical Officer warns against use of plasma pens for cosmetic treatments

Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, is advising Yukon residents to avoid the use of plasma pens, also known as fibroblast devices, for cosmetic skin treatments.

Health Canada has not approved the use of these pens in Canada and recently issued a safety bulletin outlining the risks of plasma pens. A plasma pen is a small medical device that heats a targeted area on the skin for cosmetic purposes such as the treatment of wrinkle reduction, removal of moles, skin tags, scars and spots, and may pose health risks.

Risks include pain, swelling, ultraviolet sensitivity and burns.

Environmental Health Services is responsible for monitoring the safety of personal services facilities in Yukon and advises that these devices cannot be used in Yukon under the Personal Services Establishment Regulation (OIC 1984/124). If people are offered Plasma Pen services they should contact Environmental Services at 867-667-8390.

“We are aware that these pens have been used in Yukon, as well as throughout Canada and are being sold online,” Hanley said. “People need to be aware that these pens have not been evaluated for safety, effectiveness or quality and responsible salons or spas should not be using them.”
For more information, please visit: https://healthycanadians.gc.ca/recall-alert-rappel-avis/hc-sc/2018/68366a-eng.php

A Culture of Risk: Dr. Brendan Hanley at TEDxWhitehorse
YouTube: http://youtu.be/4Ej740fwv2A