July 12th, 2024

Provincial partnership addressing addiction


By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on March 19, 2022.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Mike Ellis speaks about the new and enhanced addiction and mental health support for Lethbridge and area residents during a press conference Friday at the Lethbridge police station.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Mike Ellis, announced Friday the province has partnered with the Virtual Opioid Dependancy program to provide more resources to help those suffering from addiction to prevent overdose.
“Opioid related fatalities are the most acute addiction related harm occurring in our communities today, what many people don’t know is that 70 per cent of opioid related fatalities happen in private residences,” said Ellis.
He said that in order to the to reduce the harm caused by opioids and save lives they partnered with Alberta based Aware 360 and STARS to monitor the Digital Overdose Response System (DORS), a mobile app designed to prevent fatal overdoses among Albertans using opioids and other substances often while alone, is now available for download and use by anyone in southern Alberta.
“The DORS app is free it’s confidential and anonymous app that can be downloaded to any smartphone it can be used to monitor someone who is using substances connecting them with stars monitoring and ultimately emergency medical services if they do indeed overdose,” said Ellis.
He said the DOR system is just one innovative approach to improve access to a range of recovery oriented services.
“Another program we’re very excited to bring to the area, is a partnership between both the Lethbridge police and the Blood Tribe Police Services in the virtual opioid dependency program,” said Ellis.
Anyone arrested in Lethbridge and on the Blood Tribe will have the option of immediately consulting with an addiction medicine physician, and the Lethbridge Police Service will receive funding from Alberta’s government to hire two paramedics to further support this initiative.
“We look forward to helping more people address their addiction. Our detention units can be an uncomfortable place for those experiencing addiction cravings or withdrawals. Providing immediate treatment will hopefully not only alleviate that discomfort, but lead to long-term recover,” said Brice Iron Shirt, Chief of Blood Tribe Police Services.
Chief Shahin Mehdizadeh said that this program is voluntary and will not be forced on anyone, it is an immediate option for individuals in custody and out in the community to take the first step towards recovery.
“To make real sustainable changes in our community we must have the involvement of police and treat addictions as a healthcare issue while still holding people accountable when they commit criminal acts,” said Mehdizadeh.
Ellis said this program will be able to access evidence based addiction treatment medications like Suboxone and the newly announced Sublocade before they even leave cells.
The DORS app can be downloaded to a smartphone free of charge from any app store or via DORSApp.ca
The VODP can be accessed by calling 1-844-383-7688. The toll-free line is available seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. There is no wait-list for the program.
While the services are being used in partnership with the police departments, they are also available for the general public. Anyone who is suffering from opioid addiction can access the resources.
For additional support, information and referral to services, call Alberta 211 or the Addiction Helpline (1-866-332-2322) or visit recoveryaccessalberta.ca

Follow @APulidoHerald on Twitter

Share this story:

4
-3
1 Comment
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
pursuit diver

I hear some good ideas, some that I have been stating for some time! We need to start using firm policing since these addicts think they can do their drugs anywhere they want, leaving their needles, blood stained wipes and other paraphernalia where they use. They don’t use garbage cans even for their garbage when the garbage containers are 3 feet away! They need to start being held accountable. Once they start frequenting an area, they then think they own it and often people get assaulted who try to move them along! This has to end!
If someone overdoses, they should be immediately put on a 48 hour medical watch that includes counselling for treatment that is available. Successful programs in the US have proven that you CAN force someone to take treatment, with high rates of success if the program is properly set up!
6 day sweat lodges, 3 week programs, even 3 month programs have a high rate of failure. Successful programs are 18 months which include job placement, and follow-up counselling to help the transition with the new job.
I keep hearing about the rise in fatal overdoses in the last 2 years! Guess what? Numbers rose dramatically across North America and it was due to COVID restrictions limiting illegal drug supplies.
BC has tried their harm reduction programs for 18 years and the fatal overdoses, numbers of addicts/homeless and crime all increased annually. If it worked then the numbers should have seen a dramatic decrease after almost 20 years!!!
We need to get effective programs in place and firm policing! We also need to move the Alpha House shelter and the proposed Indigenous Resource Hub to where they belong – on the Blood Tribe Land either by Kipp or across the river by the Thunder Chief gas bar! That would make it only 10-15 minutes from downtown Lethbridge and the ‘John’s’ can drive out their to find their hookers and stop the carnage in our city! We need to support that with firm policing, which includes sting operations to charge the ‘John’s’ and that would end the loitering on our streets all night which is done by the criminals who break and enter, vandalize and commit crimes all night and then sleep in our parks all day!
Lastly, why do we run around large Fire department ladder trucks and large ambulances to respond to overdose calls? 99% percent of the time the patient either refuses treatment and walks away, or is treated at the scene and quickly leaves. Can we not use a small van or SUV to respond and assess whether an ambulance is required? We have to pay for the maintenance of these expensive vehicles!
It is time we took back our city!

Last edited 2 years ago by pursuit diver