The Pine Lodge Treatment Centre is getting 10 new treatment beds, bringing its total to 33, thanks to $467,000 from the province. The funding is part of a record $402-million investment in mental health addictions.
“Currently we have a crystal meth problem in the province, of course, longstanding issues with addictions like alcoholism, so our government has made that a priority,” Saskatchewan’s Health Minister Jim Reiter said.
“It’s about putting the supports, putting the beds in place where we can do it most effectively, most economically and most quickly so people can get the supports they need.”
Pine Lodge is a community-based organization that provides addictions treatment beds and the investment is part of the government of Saskatchewan’s 10-year mental health and addictions action plan.
“I think it’s great that the minister has recognized that there was a shortage of inpatient treatment beds and this will improve the transitioning of clients from detox into an inpatient treatment center and also it provides some opportunity to get rid of some of the waitlists that exist,” Pine Lodge executive director Foster Monson said.
Addictions advocate Marie Agioritis said that more beds are helpful but that proper treatment involves things like supportive housing and a focus on mental health.
“It’s good but we need more,” she said of the new beds.
“It’s a dollar too short, years too late.”
Agioritis knows what addiction can do to a family. One son is currently in addictions treatment and another overdosed less than six months after he graduated high school.
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Since his death in 2015, she has become a member of Moms Stop The Harm, an advocacy group that calls for drug treatment strategies that focus on harm reduction.
She said addiction needs long-term support.
“It is a battle. It’s like having a level of cancer that continues to come back.”
Moving forward, Reiter said that additional funding can be expected in future budgets.
“There’s a request for proposal (RFP) process in the works right now for pre and post addictions treatment beds that I think is going to be very important,” Reiter said.
“I’ve heard that many times over the last few years from people saying it’s not just about the treatment bed itself, it’s about pre and post-treatment support as well. So you will be seeing more of that coming in the very near future.”