Pubdate: Thu, 17 Jul 2008
Source: Regina Leader-Post (CN SN)
Copyright: 2008 The Leader-Post Ltd.
Author: Pamela Cowan
Bookmark: (Treatment)


Mattress detox will take the place of police cells or emergency rooms 
once a new Addictions Treatment Centre opens next year in downtown Regina.

The project is the result of the Regina & Area Drug Strategy Report, 
which identified the need for a stronger treatment continuum, said 
Dave Hedlund, executive director of mental health and addictions 
services for the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region.

"One part of which was the capacity to deal with people who are drunk 
or high at the time in a way that was more therapeutic as opposed to 
only using police cells or emergency rooms," Hedlund said. "That kind 
of service -- a place to sleep, to get cleaned up and to have a 
conversation hopefully in the morning about how you could start to 
think about turning your life around -- they usually refer to that as 
brief detox or mattress detox."

The new centre will replace the Detox Centre at 2839 Victoria Ave., 
and integrate services offered by Regina Recovery Homes and the 
region to help people recover from alcohol and drug addictions. Many 
individuals who will use the brief detox beds may need observation 
but not hospitalization, said Foster Monson, executive director of 
the Detox Centre.

Aside from the one-to three-day program that will have space for up 
to 20 clients on a 24/7 basis, a comprehensive 10- to 14-day program 
called Social Detoxification Services will have 25 single rooms.

"Once they're in the brief detox, it gives the staff and especially 
the client an opportunity to evaluate their situation to the extent 
that they would move to the social detox, which is a longer period of 
detoxification," said Monson. He added that one individual went 
through detox 44 times before he became sober.

The centre's services will include an addictions assessment, 
physician visits and optional AA meetings. Hedlund said the direct 
pathway from one level of treatment to the next in the same building 
will help ensure an addict's success.

Work will begin this fall to renovate the building at 1640 Victoria 
Ave., where Future Print is currently located. The treatment centre 
is slated to open at the end of 2009 and will employ 23 full-time 
addictions workers. The purchase of the building and renovation cost 
is pegged at $5.8 million and funded by the provincial and federal 
governments and the RQHR.

The Ministry of Health has provided $5.1 million in capital funding 
and $1.25 million towards the centre's $1.8-million operating costs, 
said Joceline Schriemer, legislative secretary for addictions.

"It's a step in the right direction," Schriemer said. "We're 
maintaining a relationship with Recovery Homes and that's very 
important ... Enhancing the drug and alcohol services in this 
province is a top priority for our government."

The health region distributed information sheets to area residents in 
June and visited 30 nearby agencies to explain the project. Since 
planning is in the early stages, the region will hold public 
consultation meetings in September to provide residents with an 
opportunity to get more information about the centre.

Leila Francis, executive director of the Core Community Association, 
doesn't dispute the need for addiction services but wonders why the 
region didn't arrange public consultations before the building was 
purchased. She questions whether the centre will generate extra 
traffic, create parking issues and raise security issues.

"The community here doesn't have a lot of resources within its 
boundaries yet we house the major feeding programs in the city, so is 
it going to generate any additional clientele?" Francis asked. "We 
want to ensure that there is minimal fallout to the community with 
this centre because all the (addictions) services will be concentrated there."

Glen Perchie, executive director of the region's EMS and emergency 
services, said the brief detox beds will reduce the pressure on 
emergency departments.

"A lot of times, people with addictions problems and those coming in 
intoxicated have a chronic underlying problem and we're not so good 
at that," he said. "This is an opportunity to bypass the emergency 
department in many cases and take them directly to a place that's 
actually focused on their care and get them the appropriate help. 
It's the fast track to the right place."
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