Regional Team Asks for $19.5 Million in Funding to Address Gaps in Addiction Care 

A collaborative approach to addressing mental health and addiction concerns in our region has led to a request for funding exceeding $19 million. The request, submitted March 29, 2021 to Ontario Health and the Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Michael Tibollo, outlines the need for more specialized support services and treatment care.

Lead by the Mental Health and Addictions Planning and Operations Table, the request follows months of work to address concerns brought to council on December 8, 2020 by Dr. Louisa Marion-Bellemare and Dr. Julie Samson. In an update provided to Mayor George Pirie, the team highlighted changes to current mental health and addictions operations that have had a positive impact, most notably:

  • Enhanced community withdrawal support services at Timmins and District Hospital with an addictions team, including physicians, nurse practitioner, registered nurse, and social worker, available to assist patients with treatment.
  • Expansion of Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine (RAAM) services to support people who require withdrawal management care outside a hospital setting.
  • Partnership with Timmins Police Service to locate and support people in crisis needing access to care.

Service Providers have also been working with clients and partners to identify barriers and make changes at the local level. For example, developing a wait list for people requiring access to a withdrawal management bed and interim support in the community while waiting for services. One significant change has been a commitment to open communication between all service providers and agencies.

“We need to continue to work together as organizations with the common goal to improve access to evidence-based treatment for addictions in order to save lives in our community and district,” says Dr. Julie Samson. “We have to continue to question how we are delivering services for people with addictions and strive to come up with solutions that are innovative and new. We need to be leaders in this field and are allowed to try and fail, which is better than not trying at all.”

In addition to improving local access to existing services, the Mental Health and Addictions Planning and Operations Table is looking forward with the hope of adding new services and expanding key addiction services in our region with help from the government.

The request is broken down into four (4) key service streams: community treatment services, residential services, community withdrawal management services, and a Centre of Excellence to centralize planning, support and operations. New walk-in clinics, new day and evening treatment programs, medically supported withdrawal management beds and fully-funded safe beds are part of the vision, with the Centre of Excellence to support full system integration.

“We must be diligent and continue to develop an inclusive system to support people with substance use disorder that includes the full continuum of care,” says Dr. Louisa Marion-Bellemare. “Care that is barrier free and meets people where they are at in their journey and supports the most up to date medical evidence without stigma and discrimination.”

To read the full update provided by the Mental Health and Addictions Planning and Operations Table, visit us online at > Find or Learn About > Community Safety and Well-Being > Improve Outcome of Mental Health and Addictions.

Posted by Amanda Dyer On 4/28/2021 at 11:40 AM  

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