Pubdate: Wed, 13 Jul 2016
Source: Daily Press, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Sun Media
Page: A4


We hope the north east local health integration network is not only
fully aware of the funding shortages affecting addiction services in
this region - but already acting upon it.

After all, it was just a few weeks ago, the North East LHIN was
presented with a consultant's report identifying gaps and challenges
northerners face accessing addiction services.

Brian Rush, the consultant who was hired to conduct the analysis,
found while there are excellent addiction programs in larger centres
throughout the north, there is not enough access in rural and remote

Rush also found where programming is already in place, "core capacity"
is going down while the need continues to increase.

Inadequate funding is to blame.

Funding for addictions programs has been frozen for years while the
cost of rent, the cost of living and wages have gone up.

Rush told Postmedia network, "The question i raised in the report is,
'Where's the tipping point? how much longer can these programs go
without a real boost'" in funding?

"It may not be until there's a crisis, somebody dies or something
awful happens because people couldn't get into treatment," he said.

In Timmins, chronic underfunding has forced annual temporary closures
of the Jubilee Centre throughout the summer in recent years.

It is cause for concern if you consider the importance of addiction
services in getting people off the cycle of going through the judicial
system. a large proportion of people who go through the Timmins
criminal court system cite addictions to drugs and alcohol.

Several city councillors, particularly Mike doody and Pat Bamford,
expressed the view on Monday night that addiction services is "not an
area we should be cutting back on."

"This is an essential service for our own community and that our
police service really can make use of it and (offer) proper treatment
for people rather than being locked in a jail cell," said Bamford.

On Monday, the City of Timmins endorsed the Jubilee business case put
forth to the NE LHIN to enhance base funding with an additional
$400,000 annually to prevent further service disruptions.

The north east LHIN was expected to take the consultant's findings to
the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care.

If that has been done, the ball may now be in the province's court to
ensuring addiction services in Timmins and the surrounding region are
adequately funded.

- - Ron Grech
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