$1M to aid expansion of St. Joe’s measurement-based program targeting substance abuse

A new model of treatment for those with substance use disorders at St. Joe's in Hamilton, Ont. is being supported as part of a $1.8 million federal investment. More than a million of that is going towards expanding the use of measurement based care. Global News

A cash infusion from the federal government is set to help a Hamilton, Ont., hospital expand a treatment technique already aiding those dealing with substance use disorders.

Professor James MacKillop of McMaster University’s Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences department says the use of measurement-based care (MBC) at St. Joseph’s has been around for several years and improving diagnoses through course corrections during patient programs.

“This approach has been widely used for depression and anxiety, and is indeed adopted nationally in the United Kingdom,” MacKillop explained

“But has been scarcely applied to substance use disorders and is starting now here at St Joseph’s Healthcare.”

MBC typically works by educating patients on their condition and providing insight into signs of a potential relapse, according to MacKillop.

It also alerts clinicians on a need to adjust therapies sooner than initially expected to keep a treatment outline on course.

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“The promise of benefit is extremely high, and the risk for harm is extremely low, there are essentially no side effects,” MacKillop said.

The honourable Ya’ara SaksMinister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health talks with Professor James MacKillop of McMaster University’s Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s West 5th Campus on Sept. 11, 2023. Global News

More than $1.8 million will be coming from Ottawa to aid three Hamilton overdose programs by addressing harms related to substance use and the city’s toxic illegal drug supply.

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The MBC initiative will see the bulk of the cash, $1.2 million, spent over two years.

An additional $287,000 will add a pair of harm reduction outreach workers and a peer support services worker to meet the increasing need for connecting patients with health and social services, while about $311,000 will be added to an earlier commitment of $875,000 to support safe drug supplies.

It will also support the AIDS network in providing pharmaceutical-grade medication as an alternative to the toxic illegal drug supply,” said Ya’ara Saks, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health.

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Late last week, public health revealed a spike in opioid-related overdose calls in Hamilton over the second quarter of 2023.

The latest report said there were 257 suspected opioid poisonings between April 1 and June 30.

That’s up 81 calls compared with the same period in 2022, equating to around 19 opioid-related paramedic calls per week or 2.8 calls per day.

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