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News Release - Manitoba

November 9, 2022

Manitoba Government Commits to Recovery-Oriented System of Addictions Care

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Treatment, Long-Term Recovery are Priorities for Addressing Addictions Challenges in Manitoba: Guillemard

The Manitoba government is committing to a recovery-oriented system of care and maximizing investments in treatment and long-term recovery for individuals with substance use and addictions challenges, Mental Health and Community Wellness Minister Sarah Guillemard announced today.

“After researching various types of addictions services and harm reduction approaches with the Department of Mental Health and Community Wellness and seeing supervised consumption sites in Vancouver, I am certain our government’s current approach for the pursuit of long-term recovery is the correct path for our province,” said Guillemard. “Jurisdictions that have formalized supervised consumption sites are not seeing reductions in drug use or overdose deaths. I am confident the approach of the Manitoba government is a compassionate one.”

On a walk through the Vancouver neighbourhoods of East Hastings this week, Guillemard witnessed various supervised consumption sites including people using drugs on sidewalks in front of the Insite supervised consumption facility. The minister noted concerns particularly with unregulated supervised consumption sites and serious consequences to individuals and communities, as also described in a report published by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.

“Every life lost to substance overdose and mental-health issues is devastating to Manitoba families. It is for these families that Manitoba needs to do more of what it is doing to maximize investments in a system of care oriented to long-term recovery,” said Guillemard. “Recovery is possible for all Manitobans. Our government is dedicated to the support of a continuum of care including prevention, early intervention including harm reduction, treatment and long-term recovery for individuals affected by substance use and addictions. We are focused on ensuring treatment is available to Manitobans when they are ready for recovery.”

Since October 2019, the Manitoba government has invested more than $62 million in close to 50 initiatives to improve mental health and addictions services throughout the province. This unprecedented funding in Manitoba has gone toward services supported by scientific evidence aimed at helping people overcome addictions and live more fulfilling lives, said Guillemard.

These investments support a range of addictions treatment programs and initiatives including Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine (RAAM) clinics, medical and community-based withdrawal management services, mobile withdrawal management services, opiate agonist treatment, short-term and long-term residential addictions treatment, after-care programming, supportive recovery housing and outreach.

Of the investments, more than $2.4 million is allocated annually by the Manitoba government to harm reduction initiatives. These include distribution and disposal of needles and other supplies, and ensuring Manitobans have access to life-saving medication via the Take-Home Naloxone Kit Program and a Narcan pilot program in the event of overdoses or drug poisonings. The harm reduction funding also includes $90,000 for the Manitoba Harm Reduction Network for education, curriculum development, workshops and supply distribution, as well as almost $215,000 for the St. Boniface Street Links mobile outreach project.

Other jurisdictions that have applied a recovery-oriented approach are seeing reductions in overdose deaths and improved quality of life for individuals affected by addictions, the minister noted.

“Putting money into treatment centres and providing access to them are much more beneficial than supervised consumption sites to give addicts a fighting chance at recovery, instead of enabling them to continue using,” said Will Gault, a Winnipeg resident in recovery from substance abuse. “I am seven and a half years sober because of government-funded treatment in this province. This is where the government’s focus should be to give people like me a new life, when you have the willingness to change and access to treatment.”

In 2017, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction published Moving Toward a Recovery-Oriented System of Care: A Resource Guide for Service Providers and Decision Makers. Based on the first national Life in Recovery from Addiction in Canada survey, this guide presents recovery as positive, achievable and sustainable, the minister noted. It also promotes the development of targeted investments and the establishment of a continuum of care to support individuals with substance use disorders.

In 2015, the Mental Health Commission of Canada launched guidelines for recovery-oriented practice and highlighted that a recovery approach focuses on the values, hopes and dreams of each individual.

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