The Illicit Drug Task Force Recommends More Access to Addiction Treatment Programs in Manitoba

The Illicit Drug Task Force Recommends More Access Addiction Treatment Programs in Manitoba

The Illicit Drug Task Force (IDTF) recently came out with 24 recommendations for all three levels of government and the private sector to tackle the lack of mental health and addictions resources. The use of drugs, especially methamphetamine has increased in Manitoba.

The report states, “between 2014 and 2017, there were 337 opioid-related deaths and in 15 percent of those meth was detected in toxicology results.” In 2017, there were 106 apparent opioid-related deaths.

One main recommendation from the report to address these staggering statistics to build the capacity across a range of services, limit carriers, and increase access to available treatment spaces.

Throughout the province there are a variety of many different treatment facilities and programs, both privately and publicly operated. However, some of the treatment and support services do not address gaps between acute detoxification and longer-term stabilization, the report states. This has put a strain on first responders and hospital resources.

The range of harms linked with substance use are in three dimension: acuity, chronicity, and complexity. The way someone seeks services and supports depends on the combination of these three things.

Due to the lack of timely access treatment and stabilization services often results in at-risk individuals being forced to return to potentially using while waiting for care. The report stats that the issue is that the province does not have a complete coordinated continuum of care.

The report says to achieve this is required and include:

  • Crisis stabilization and management of acute intoxication where ED care is not required
  • Timely transition to longer-term stabilization (in cases where ED care is initially required)
  • Withdrawal management in support of subsequent treatment engagement
  • Outpatient, community-based services including opioid replacement therapy
  • Structured, intensive residential treatment
  • Supportive recovery and aftercare
  • A variety of programming to support the different needs and requirements of the individuals who are seeking or entering into treatment.

The IDTF refers to Virgo Planning and Evaluation Consultants Inc report, Improving Access and Coordination of Mental Health and Addiction Services: A Provincial Strategy for all Manitobans. This report explains how even though there are organizations that are publicly funded, they may not be offering the best, most relevant, or effective programming. To address this, IDTF recommends that private-public partnerships may provide a way to make better use of public funding organizations to meet growing needs.

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There is no doubt about it, there is an immediate need for medical withdrawal and detox centers in the province. IDTF recommends that these facilities should be accompanies with counselling services and transition programs until there are available beds. For now, there are limited supportive long-term programs in Manitoba, but their success rates increase with supportive abstinence-based housing.

The task force formed its report over six months with the members of organizations from all three levels of government, healthcare, police, and the judicial system.

For the full report go to

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