Amid an overdose crisis, detox beds added at Calgary Drop-In Centre

Click to play video: 'Calgary Drop-In Centre opens new recovery beds'
Calgary Drop-In Centre opens new recovery beds
WATCH: Those struggling with addiction now have another place to seek help in Calgary. – Jun 8, 2023

The Calgary Drop-In Centre unveiled a newly renovated 35-bed facility to support vulnerable Calgarians struggling with addiction in the east village.

The $4 million recovery-oriented care project was funded by the provincial government.

“We’re able to help support people in instances of drug poisoning and bring them back essentially to life, which is of course an absolutely important part of the puzzle,” said Sandra Clarkson, executive director of the Calgary Drop-In Centre.

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There are two new programs: the Withdrawal Management Program provides clients a safe space to withdraw from alcohol, drugs, or other substances in a medically supported environment using an abstinence-based approach; while the Recovery Transition Program provides supports to people on their recovery journey with goals of treatment, recovery and permanent housing.

The Calgary Drop-In Centre says these programs will have the potential to support 1,000 people a year, with 20 recovery transition beds and 15 withdrawal management beds. It will create jobs for nursing and support staff, in hopes of offering clients a pathway out of addiction.

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Calgary man in recovery offers hope to addicts as opioid poisonings escalate

“The beauty is that we can refer people to this floor, to this program, in the moment when they are ready to make a change,” said Clarkson.

These programs include addictions counselling, recovery care planning, goal setting and discharge planning, diversion and housing support, life skills and wellness activities. Teams with physicians, peer support workers, nurses and addiction counsellors will work with clients for housing support and treatment center referrals.

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The Drop-In Centre strives to give more than just emergency shelter, they provide meals, access to health-care and housing support.

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The area around the Calgary Drop-in Centre is often considered the hub for much of the open drug use in Calgary’s downtown. In addition to helping those in recovery, the program aims to address some of the perceptions of safety and social disorder in the city that has grown since the pandemic, which is impacting businesses in the area.

“Whether you see someone walking down the street using marijuana or whether you see them using crack, you get the perception that it’s not safe,” said Mark Garner, executive director of the Calgary Downtown Association.

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Residents in the east village believe the negative perception is still something that can be fixed.

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“I feel like if we can get more businesses down here and just more support from the community maybe that can change some of the chaos that goes on,” said Jordan Elaine, an East Village resident.

The Drop-In Centre hopes the new detox beds and support staff will help de-escalate the drug crisis and remove barriers so more Calgarians can safely overcome stages of recovery and find permanent housing. The centre is slated to open its doors at full capacity this July.

– with files from Meghan Cobb

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