New funding to help meth addicts recover

Health Minister Cameron Friesen

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Manitoba has signed on to the Government of Canada’s Emergency Treatment Fund which increases funding for recovery beds and establishes mobile clinic support services in Brandon and Winnipeg for people who use methamphetamine.
Health Minister Cameron Friesen made the announcement along with MP Jim Carr on behalf of Canada’s minister of health Ginette Petitpas-Taylor.
Friesen said the province has benefited from the federal government making the funding more flexible. Originally planned to address opioid addictions, the funding will also address meth in Manitoba.
“We know that methamphetamine addiction is a huge problem in people’s lives, in families, in the work place, on our streets, in the justice system and on our health system,” Friesen said. “It will take all of us to solve it.”
MP Jim Carr said while opioid-related overdoses continue to have a devastating impact, Manitoba also has the challenge of meth use.
“This bilateral agreement will facilitate and increase access to essential treatment services in Manitoba, services tailored to help people with problematic substance use,” he said. “We must continue to work in a comprehensive and collaborative way to address substance use and to help Canadians access treatment and supports. Friesen said Manitoba has already responded to the challenge, opening five Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine (RAAM) clinics.
Flexibility is important. Typically individuals access withdrawal management and recovery beds for seven to 10 days. Meth addicts require longer more flexible periods of time, often up to 30 days.
The bilateral agreement provides nearly $4.2 million in matching funding, to be used by March 2023 under the federal government’s Emergency Treatment Fund.
Both the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and Prairie Mountain Health will issue a request for proposals to address the need for withdrawal and clinical support services for meth users including a call to create mobile withdrawal services.
“Similar to a program used in B.C., the plan calls for those with addiction to be placed in open treatment bed spaces at addiction treatment centres, with mobile teams providing daily support to these individuals,” a press release stated. “These teams would typically include a nurse and addictions worker.”
The new services are expected to benefit at least 130 people annually.
The investment is important according to Dr. Jitender Sareen, medical director, mental health program, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.
“This important new resource will fit a well-recognized gap in our system, and enhance Manitoba’s capacity to provide evidence-based mental health and addition treatment,” Sareen said.
Manitoba has introduced a number of measures to address substance abuse:
• the opening of five RAAM clinics throughout the province, streamlining the system and providing access to primary care for Manitobans struggling with substance use
• adding six mental health inpatient beds at Health Science Centre Winnipeg
• doubling the number of women’s treatment beds to 24 from 12, at the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba’s Portage Ave. site
• equipping paramedics with olanzapine to treat agitated patients at risk of developing meth psychosis
• issuing a request for proposals from local residential addictions facilities to treat people with co-existing addiction and mental health issues, allowing them to stay closer to home and their support network.