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Health Minister Doug Currie
The long-awaited strategy detailing government’s plan to address the growing problem of opiate addiction in P.E.I. is coming soon, says Health Minister Doug Currie.
A mental health and addictions review as well as an action plan to address the current gaps in treatment services will both be released within the next few weeks, Currie said.
“There will be investment, there will be policy initiatives,” he said.
“Mind you, these are fiscally challenging times, but I’m very pleased with the support that I’ve gotten from caucus and from cabinet through the executive council committees.”
The province spent more than $85,000 for independent consultant MRSB to conduct a review of mental health and addictions services after an auditor general’s investigation in 2012 found a number of serious problems, including excessive wait times and no existing long-term plan for community mental health.
Government has been delaying the release of the MRSB report until Currie’s action plan on addictions was ready.
“I didn’t want to bring the report to the public until as government we had a public response and action to the report and next steps moving forward because of the seriousness of the issue,” Currie said Tuesday.
He would not reveal any specifics about what will be in this action plan, but he did indicate the department has been looking at post-recovery for youth who attend treatment programs, such as the Strength program or the Portage youth addictions facility in New Brunswick. He also hinted at increased beds for those seeking detox and rehabilitation.
“We’ve been having discussions with Health P.E.I. to look at beds, the pressures on beds, the type of demand that’s on those beds. So those are all part and parcel to the conversation.”
He promised his addictions action plan and the MRSB review will be made public soon. In the meantime, Currie said improvements have been ongoing in addictions treatment and he praised the work of front-line workers in helping to address the challenges currently facing the system.