A new addictions clinic in North Battleford, Sask., is celebrating its grand opening Thursday, as it aims to help people who need addiction services and support.
The Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine (RAAM) clinic provides access to specialized addictions treatment services from nurses, addiction counsellors and more.
“This RAAM clinic will make a significant difference to people living with addictions challenges,” Mental Health and Addictions Minister Everett Hindley said in a press release.
The provincial government announced it would be providing $2.2 million this year to launch the RAAM clinic, as well as support clinics in Prince Albert, Saskatoon and Regina.
“This addictions medicine clinic has been designed to remove barriers to care in providing rapid access to a team of physicians, case managers and nurses who specialize in this important and evolving discipline,” SHA director of primary health for North Battleford Johann Engelke said.
On top of the new clinic, the North Battleford area is now home to Saskatchewan’s fourth mobile harm reduction van.
The van is meant to transport safer supplies to communities to help reduce the spread of sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections.
“Harm reduction vans are already making a difference on the streets of Saskatoon, Regina and Yorkton,” said Hindley.
“These mobile vans provide an opportunity to build trust with community members and will bring life-saving services to individuals while also engaging with them on pathways toward long-term treatment and recovery.”
Basic health care, such as treating wounds and infections, and HIV testing, will also be provided by the health-care workers operating the van.
“These mobile services are a critical component in the harm reduction response,” said Highways Minister and The Battlefords MLA Jeremy Cockrill.
“Providing mobile harm reduction services is an important step as our government works to enhance addiction and overdose prevention supports for residents of our city and across the province.”
Jessica Campbell, the Saskatchewan Health Authority primary health care NWS executive director, said these vans are a crucial step to improving the access people have to harm reduction services.
“Outreach services like harm reduction vans allow many individuals who do not have access to mainstream health services the opportunity to be connected to care and treatment options,” she said.
“Increasing access to safer supplies and medically factual information can lead to a reduced chance of infection, disease transmission and overdose.”
Planning is currently underway to implement an additional mobile harm reduction services van in Prince Albert in 2022 as well as three new community wellness buses that will travel to communities in south, central and northern Saskatchewan in spring of 2023.