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News Release - Manitoba

August 9, 2022

Manitoba Government Commits $538,000 to Expand Opiate Agonist Addictions Treatment in Interlake

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Creation of Full-Time Clinic Addresses Growing Demand: Guillemard

SELKIRK—The Manitoba government is committing $538,000 to expand opiate agonist treatment (OAT) in the Interlake region with full-time services at the Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine (RAAM) clinic in Selkirk, Mental Health and Community Wellness Minister Sarah Guillemard announced here today.

“Increasing accessible, stigma-free, quality and safe services, as part of a comprehensive approach to substance use, addictions and mental health treatment and support, is a priority for our government,” said Guillemard. “The creation of the full-time opiate agonist treatment clinic will address a growing demand for these services in the Interlake region while allowing the Selkirk Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine clinic to devote more resources to patients with other substance use disorders.”

With the ongoing opioid crisis, the demand for addictions services in general and for OAT specifically has significantly increased at health-care facilities across Manitoba and Canada including at the RAAM clinic in Selkirk.

The creation of the full-time OAT clinic, with a team of nurses, nurse practitioners, administrative staff, addictions counsellors and physicians, will ensure a minimum of 100 additional OAT patients will receive timely, community-based, patient-centred care that meets their needs, the minister said. With the dedicated clinic for OAT patients, the Selkirk RAAM clinic’s service-delivery model will also become more efficient and accessible, she added.

“As we grow as a society and health-care system to understand addictions better, we have also learned the most effective health-care service approach is to offer accessible, timely and trusted low-barrier access to care–free from judgment, and full of understanding and compassion,” said Marion Ellis, chief executive officer, Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority. “This expansion to the Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine clinic in Selkirk improves people’s access to that kind of care.”

The minister noted the expanded program responds to the 2018 VIRGO report, which outlined a strategy to improve mental health and addictions services including recommendations to increase access to OAT and to community-based treatment with extended hours of operation. Enhanced access to evidence-based OAT supports the health and well-being of Manitobans with opioid-use disorder and mitigates the societal costs of the disease, the minister added.

Since 2019, the Manitoba government has committed over $62 million to more than 47 projects and initiatives that have fully or partially addressed 102 of the VIRGO report’s recommendations for improving access to and co-ordination of mental health and addictions services.

For more information on the VIRGO report, visit

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