News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

December 29, 2020


Ability to Seamlessly Transfer Patients will Help Protect Manitobans: Friesen

The Manitoba government will provide $889,000 over three years for eight additional beds to support timely patient transfers from Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine (RAAM) clinics, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen announced today.
“The ability to seamlessly transfer patients to withdrawal management services when required is critical to the success and sustainability of RAAM clinics in Winnipeg,” said Friesen. “These beds will support RAAM patients experiencing withdrawal issues, reducing barriers to care, shortening wait times and ensuring quicker access to substance-use disorder treatment.”
RAAM clinics provide immediate counselling, prescribe appropriate addiction medication and connect patients to community treatment programs and primary care physicians in their community for ongoing care. Patients who need help managing withdrawal symptoms are transferred to these withdrawal management services.
“We see people every day in RAAM clinics requiring various addiction support services,” said Dr. Ginette Poulin, medical director with the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba and clinical lead for the RAAM clinics. “Withdrawal management is an important step in the process of substance use treatment for many individuals and increasing timely access can be critical for their recovery journey. By adding more non-medical withdrawal management beds in our system, we can better respond to patients needs and help offer more safe places to stabilize.”
The eight additional community-residential withdrawal management beds will include four beds for men at Winnipeg’s Main Street Project, and four women’s beds at the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba’s (AFM) River Point Centre in Winnipeg. This will serve an estimated 300 people each year, the minister noted. 
“Main Street Project is proud to be a part of the continuum of care in addition recovery,” said Dawn Cumming, director of detoxification and stabilization, Main Street Project. “The addition of these eight RAAM beds will allow us to support clients with timely and critical access to detoxification services. We are pleased the province is investing in implementing the recommendations outlined in the VIRGO report.”
Since August 2018, more than 4,000 patients have used RAAM services at locations in Winnipeg (Crisis Response Centre and AFM Riverpoint), as well as in Brandon, Selkirk, Thompson and Portage la Prairie. This includes more than 2,100 people who have registered for RAAM services in the past year.
The minister noted the service expansion addresses recommendations from the VIRGO report including increasing capacity for opiate agonist therapy and increasing capacity for community-based treatment services.
Over the past year, more than $42 million has been invested to support stronger mental health and addictions services in Manitoba. These initiatives are in direct response to recommendations from several reports and action plans, including VIRGO, the Illicit Drug Task Force, Tracia’s Trust and the Community Wellness and Public Safety Alliance. 
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