Province injects $8M into psychosocial supports to combat opioid addiction

EDMONTON – The Alberta government is providing $8 million in new funding to increase psychosocial supports for people recovering from opioid addiction.

The province will increase patient access to supports like addiction counsellors and therapists at opioid dependency clinics. These supports help Albertans develop the skills they need to achieve long-term recovery and lead healthy, successful lives.

“We are investing in the entire range of addiction treatment and recovery services to provide more Albertans the opportunity to get on the path to health, wellness and long-term recovery,” said Jason Luan, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.

READ MORE: Alberta introduces legislation to join B.C.’s lawsuit against opioid companies

There are currently 10 clinics in the province specializing in providing opioid agonist therapy operated by Alberta Health Services (AHS). For more information on care options, visit the opioid response options for care web page on Alberta.ca.

“Enhancing the psychosocial supports at the AHS Opioid Dependency Programs will be paramount to helping people move towards achieving their recovery goals,” said Dr. Robert Tanguay, Medical Lead, Alberta Addiction Education Sessions, Alberta Health Services.

“Pathways to recovery are paramount to addressing the opioid crisis, and reinforcing these programs, tasked with treating opioid addiction, is another huge step in the right direction for all Albertans. Together, we can change everything.”

READ MORE: Alberta contributes $240B to Canada in transfer payments, takes nothing in payments

The government is providing $8 million over the next four years to increase the availability of these supports.

Budget 2019 includes $140 million over four years to increase access to mental health and addiction treatment, and create an expert advisory council to make recommendations on a new mental health and addictions strategy.

READ MORE: Opioid drug crisis in prisons ‘dramatically different’ from previous ones: Study

Last month the province introduced legislation – the Opioid Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act – to allow the province to participate in a national class-action lawsuit against more than 40 opioid companies. 

-reporter@albertapressleader.ca

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