Calgary gets funding boost to battle fentanyl crisis
$2.2 million divvied up to provide front line support in Alberta's opioid battle
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The province is upping the ante in the battle against opioid addiction and overdose with the expansion of funding and treatment beds in Calgary and Edmonton.
Alberta’s Associate Minister of Health Brandy Payne made the announcement in Calgary at the Renfrew Recovery Centre Friday, where part of the $2.2 million in funding for the Calgary area will go to allow that clinic to see up to 180 more patients annually.
Payne announced a total of $4.6 million in funding for the province’s two biggest cities, where fentanyl overdose deaths continue to mount. Edmonton will receive $2.4 million for programs in that city.
While third quarter numbers weren’t available, up to June of this year, there were 246 fentanyl-related deaths in Alberta, according to the province.
Payne said the additional funding should help alleviate wait times and improve access to Suboxone or methadone treatments in both cities.
“This is one step in a much larger effort to keep Albertans safe and healthy and to support those who are dealing with substance use,” Payne said.
In addition to the Renfrew boost, the money will go towards expanding the hours and staff at the Sheldon Chumir Centre, allowing them to serve an additional 240 patients. Eight new medical detox beds will open at Alpha House, meaning 250 additional clients will have access to opioid replacement therapy.
The funding will also give a boost to the Calgary Urban Project Society (CUPS) to bolster available treatment for low income or the homeless in Calgary.
Medication-assisted therapy will also be made available for youth through the Alex, and the funding allows the Community Paramedic City Centre Team to operate 7 days a week, 12 hours a day.
Dr. Laura Evans with Renfrew said the money is literally a life saver.
“This funding, which will enable Calgarians to access opioid replacement therapy in detox, brings us in line with new national standards to treat opioid use disorder, reflects the latest evidence, and most importantly will save lives,” she said.