News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

May 31, 2021

PROVINCE INVESTS MORE THAN $819,000 IN WINNIPEG RAPID ACCESS TO ADDICTIONS MEDICINE CLINICS

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Investment Allows Clinics to Increase Capacity, Provide Easier Access to Services: Gordon

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The Manitoba government is investing more than $819,000 to increase the capacity of Winnipeg’s two Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine (RAAM) clinics to deal with increased demand for addictions services during the pandemic, Mental Health, Wellness and Recovery Minister Audrey Gordon announced today.

“We know some Manitobans have increased their substance use as a way to cope with the effects of stress and anxiety related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gordon. “This investment in the RAAM clinics will increase staffing and other supports, allowing the clinics to increase their capacity and make it easier for people to access their services.”

RAAM walk-in clinics provide adults who are looking for help with problematic substance use with immediate counselling and can prescribe appropriate addictions medication, including opioid agonist treatment (OAT), to reduce or stop their substance use. They also connect patients to community treatment programs and primary care providers in their communities for ongoing care.

“We’ve heard from patients and families that RAAM clinics overall are meeting an important need and improving care for Manitobans impacted by drugs and alcohol.  However, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen a surge in both overdose deaths and demand for services, particularly related to opioids,” said Dr. Erin Knight, medical co-lead, RAAM. “The Winnipeg RAAM clinics have been most affected by the increased demand, making it more difficult for patients to access same-day care. The funding announced today represents a critical response to the increase in need and will help us to better serve the people who are reaching out for help every day.”

Health officials noted substance-related deaths in Manitoba have increased to 372 in 2020 from 191 in 2019, an increase of almost 95 per cent. This is consistent with what is happening across Canada and the U.S., and appears to be caused by a combination of factors including:
• stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in increased mental health issues including feelings of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts;
• an increase in using substances alone because of COVID-19 physical distancing requirements; and
• barriers to treatment.

The RAAM clinics in Winnipeg are located in the Crisis Response Centre at 817 Bannatyne Ave. and River Point Centre at 146 Magnus Ave.

There are currently six RAAM clinics in Manitoba, the two in Winnipeg and one each in Brandon, Selkirk, Thompson and Portage la Prairie.  Information on addresses and hours for RAAM clinics can be found at https://afm.mb.ca/programs-and-services/raam/.

The Manitoba government has made significant investments in mental health and addictions services since October 2019 including more than $50 million in more than 33 projects and initiatives.

If any Manitobans or someone they know are experiencing difficulties with mental health or addictions-related concerns, contact the Manitoba Addictions Helpline at https://mbaddictionhelp.ca or call toll-free 1-855-662-6605.

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BACKGROUND INFORMATION ATTACHED




Backgrounder
Background Information - https://www.gov.mb.ca/asset_library/en/newslinks/2021/05/BG-RAAM_Clinics_Expansion-MHWR.pdf