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New crystal meth treatment centre in Estevan, Sask. goes beyond 28-day model

Click to play video 'Rise of crystal meth use in Saskatchewan a crisis: conference' Rise of crystal meth use in Saskatchewan a crisis: conference
WATCH: The rise of crystal meth use in Saskatchewan is being called a crisis by attendees at the SIIT Crystal Meth Dialogue. Brittney Matejka reports.

A 30-bed treatment centre aimed at helping crystal meth users will soon open its doors in Estevan, Sask.

Scheduled to open by Oct. 1, the centre, built within existing space at St. Joseph’s Hospital, will have 15 beds for those recovering from crystal meth use.

Five additional beds are dedicated to those seeking help for other substance use, while four beds are set aside for pre-treatment, a service that was needed within the hospital.

Read more: Price of meth as low as $3 in Saskatoon

“We often have people in detox in our acute care wing of the hospital because often there isn’t a place for them to go, or they sadly go home, and sometimes they can be repeat visitors,” said St. Joseph’s Hospital Executive Director Greg Hoffort.

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“This program will allow for detox.”

The centre will also have six beds for post-treatment to allow “integration back into their own communities,” Hoffort said.

Treatment offered at the centre will not have a prescribed length and will be tailored to the needs of patients “as long as they need.”

“What works for other addictions doesn’t necessarily work for crystal meth, and it’s so important that it has its own type of treatment, its own structure,” said Minister of Health Jim Reiter.

“The treatment here is going to be individualized. Traditional treatment is 28 days. That will not be the case here. It will be individualized.”

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According to Estevan Mayor Roy Ludwig, the city hasn’t had a treatment centre for 24 years.

“We’re facing the same issues as other communities,” Ludwig told Global News earlier this year. “Once people get addicted, it’s a very sad situation. Everything is focused around getting that next high.

“And it’s a very unfortunate situation. It tears families apart and it’s a heartbreaking issue that we have.”

The rate at which people seek treatment for crystal meth abuse in Saskatchewan continues to increase.

Read more: Saskatoon community groups release report on how to tackle crystal meth crisis

According to the government’s human services committee, in 2012-13, three per cent of people accessing addictions treatment reported using crystal meth. By 2017-18, the period with most recent data available, the number increased to 30.58 per cent.

While the treatment centre is located in Estevan, it will serve the entire southeast region of the province.

“When you have people in your community that are travelling to other areas of the province and quite often to B.C. or even programs in the U.S., having something in your own backyard is so beneficial,” said Lori Carr, MLA for Estevan.

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The province said it is tackling a worsening addiction crisis by enhancing addictions and mental health services in the 2020-21 budget.

The government committed $1.95 million to help establish the new treatment centre.

“We know that addictions and overdoses are an increasing problem that jurisdictions across Canada are grappling with,” Health Minister Jim Reiter said in a press release.

“We have seen the impact that crystal meth addiction has had on people and families across the province. This new centre will save lives and will help Saskatchewan people begin and complete their recoveries.”

Read more: Meth users need a new, more effective treatment model, says Sask. addictions counsellor

The recovery centre was opened in partnership with St. Joseph’s Hospital and its umbrella organization Emmanuel Care Group, who are working with Cedars at Cobble Hill, to deliver services.