The province continues to battle the opioid epidemic throughout Alberta. The Associate Minister of Health was in Grande Prairie today to tour a pair of facilities.
Brandy Payne visited the Opioid Dependency Clinic, which just opened in May and is located within the Northern Addictions Centre, along with Rising Above.
Payne says she enjoyed her visit and they have identified some areas they can improve on with their approach to the opioid crisis.
“Capacity continues to be a concern across the province and in Grande Prairie. We really want to do what we can to enhance the number of treatment spaces available, whether that be through dependency treatment or recovery beds. There’s certainly a gap in the number of people who are looking for service, and the number of spots that are available at any given time.”
The province is also working towards erasing the stigma of addiction.
“Addiction is a medical condition, it’s not a personal failing. And [we are] working to tackle some of the stigma that still really exists around it. Making it so people feel comfortable talking about it and reaching out for help, but also making sure that we’ve got the supports available for them when they do reach out,” Payne said.
Another common issue is every day people becoming addicted to opioids because they are taking drugs to ease pain from an injury.
“Maybe you have an injury and are given an opioid for pain management. What’s the plan for that individual as they go through their recovery?” Payne said. “Working with family doctors is really critical.”
She commended front line staff in Grande Prairie for all the hard work they put in.
Payne added they are working with Telehealth and family doctors to help battle the opioid crisis in rural areas as well.
Currently there are 22 people enlisted in the Opioid Dependency Treatment at the dependency clinic at the Northern Addictions Centre.
There is also a needs assessment study ongoing to learn if there is a need for a supervised consumption site in Grande Prairie.