Since opening at the end of May, the Opioid Dependency Program at the Northern Addictions Centre has helped 17 patients.
It’s the first of it’s kind in northwestern Alberta, and was greatly needed in our region as we continue to battle an opioid epidemic.
They offer access to opioid replacement therapy, treatment, counselling and detox beds.
“When we first started talking about the need for this, about a year and a half ago, we did have people going into British Columbia and into Fort St. John for this type of treatment, or travelling to Edmonton. This is a very important service to ensure that northern Albertans have access to a full spectrum of addiction and mental health services,” explained Debra Morrison, Director of Addiction and Mental Health with Alberta Health Services North Zone.
“Opioid dependency is a growing issue, and Alberta Health Services is working to increase access and availability of replacement treatment. This program will help northern Albertans receive the care they need, closer to home. It will help save lives.”
One of the unique features of the program, according to Morrison, are the medical detox beds they offer.
“Withdrawal can be dangerous. People can go into convulsions or experience other health issues. It’s important to be able to offer social detox, but also these specialized medical detox facilities are important as well,” she said. “Like our partners in government and in the private sector, we continue to work to provide treatment for those addicted to fentanyl and other opioids, while focusing efforts on understanding and addressing the root causes of the issue.”
The Northern Addiction Centre’s Site Manager adds they’ve been hearing nothing but good things.
“We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from other health professionals and our counterparts across northern Alberta about being able to offer this,” said Irene Gladue (pictured). “It’s a welcomed addition to the addiction and mental health services we currently offer.”
This is the 16th such clinic to open in Alberta.
The Northern Addictions Centre is located at 11333-106 Street in Grande Prairie. They can be contacted by calling 780-538-5210.