News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

November 1, 2022

MANITOBA GOVERNMENT INVESTS $625,000 IN INITIATIVES TO COMBAT ADDICTIONS

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Harm-Reduction Projects Aimed at Reducing Overdoses, Helping Make Communities Safe: Premier

The Manitoba government is investing more than $625,000 in three initiatives as part of its continuing efforts to create an integrated, responsive and accessible system of wellness, mental health, substance use and recovery services, Premier Heather Stefanson and Mental Health and Community Wellness Minister Sarah Guillemard announced today.

“Mental health and addictions issues and demands for services are an ongoing challenge throughout Manitoba and Canada,” said Stefanson. “The COVID-19 pandemic has increased system pressures and the need for mental health and addictions services has grown significantly. These harm-reduction initiatives are focused on addressing those needs and helping make our communities safe.”

An investment of $215,000 will support the St. Boniface Street Links Outreach and Supportive Intervention for People Who Use Substances (OASIS) Mobile Outreach Project, which is led by a multi-disciplinary team that supports approximately 80 people experiencing homelessness and/or struggling with substance use. Project staff facilitates access to crisis stabilization, substance use treatment and other recovery-oriented services, including assistance for individuals who are homeless to attain stable housing, Guillemard noted.

“This investment will enable the multi-disciplinary teams at the St. Boniface Street Links OASIS Mobile Outreach Project to provide intervention, wraparound supports and individualized care planning for people experiencing harms related to substance use and facing multiple barriers to care,” said Guillemard. “The OASIS project is delivering services to Manitobans with mental health or addictions concerns and giving them the support they need as close and as quickly as possible.”

In addition, St. Boniface Street Links operates Morberg House, a 12-bed transitional residence for men experiencing harm related to substance use, homelessness and mental health challenges. Morberg House will be used for OASIS clients who require immediate help.

“There is an urgent need to increase access to recovery supports in Winnipeg,” said Marion Willis, founder and executive director, St. Boniface Street Links. “The Manitoba funding allows Morberg House to expand services to include recovery supports to women.”

The premier noted another new investment of $210,000 is going toward an expansion of the province’s free Take-Home Naloxone Kit Program that includes injectable naloxone and training materials. Naloxone is fast-acting in temporarily reversing the effects of opioid toxicity and overdoses, and can be administered by bystanders while waiting for emergency medical services to arrive.

“Improving access to naloxone is a critical step in reducing serious outcomes and deaths related to opioid toxicity,” said Stefanson. “The expansion of this program helps to address the ever-increasing demand for this life-saving drug.”

The Manitoba government will continue to expand the number of registered naloxone distribution sites, Guillemard noted. The program, which has more than 200 distribution sites across Manitoba, distributed over 17,000 free kits in 2021-22, more than doubling the 8,300 kits distributed in 2020-21.

An additional $200,000 investment will support a new pilot project that improves access to Narcan, an intranasal version of naloxone. This program will allow individuals at risk of opioid toxicity and overdoses and their family members to receive Narcan from participating pharmacies at a significantly reduced price. Narcan kits will be priced at $30 each for families, while the average price is about $165 to $215.

“This pilot project builds on what we have heard from advocacy groups and community organizations  calling for increased access to Narcan,” said Guillemard. “With this initiative, we are focused on crucial supports to restore health and prevent tragedies.”

For more information on the Take-Home Naloxone Kit Program, visit https://gov.mb.ca/health/publichealth/naloxone.html.

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Backgrounder
Backgrounder - https://www.gov.mb.ca/asset_library/en/newslinks/2022/11/BG-Street_Links_Naloxone_Narcan-MHCW.pdf