Aylward calling for mental health and addictions officer to appear before committee

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Opposition MLA James Aylward

Opposition health critic James Aylward wants the province’s new chief mental health and addictions officer to appear before a committee of MLAs that examined the problem of youth opiate addiction in P.E.I. last year.

Aylward says he would like Dr. Rhonda Matters to provide an update on the progress of her comprehensive mental health and addictions services review.

“A number of events have happened in our mental health system since Dr. Matters began her review last November,” said Aylward.

“In the past month alone, front line mental health nursing positions have been eliminated; the director of mental health and addictions spoke out against the conditions at Hillsborough Hospital; staff raised concerns at the Montague community mental health and addictions facility; we learned that Corpus Sanchez is conducting its own mental health services review – and all the while Health Minister Doug Currie is nowhere to be found.”

Matters was appointed the new chief mental health and addictions officer last November as part of an action plan launched by the province to deal with a growing number of Islanders dealing with addictions. 

Aylward said Tuesday he believes is imperative Matters appear before the Standing Committee on Health and Social Development to address recent concerns about addictions and mental health services and offer an update on what progress has been made thus far with her review.

“If Minister Currie is convinced that another review of mental health services is needed, then families waiting for help deserve to know what progress is being made and how much longer they will have to wait for improved services,” he said.

“My biggest concern is that… Island families will not receive the services they so greatly need and deserve. I certainly hope Dr. Matters can provide some much needed clarity on these issues by appearing before the committee.”

Last year, the Standing Committee on Health and Social Development held meetings across the province to hear from Islanders, doctors, nurses and other health and law enforcement officials on what has been called an epidemic of addiction to prescription drugs in P.E.I.

In its report to the legislature, delivered in late November, the committee identified an urgent need to address gaps in access to treatment services as part of six recommendations to government.

It also said stigmas associated with addictions must be changed and that it must be made easier to access treatment and support.

Organizations: Standing Committee on Health, Hillsborough Hospital

Geographic location: P.E.I., Montague

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Recent comments

  • don
    February 05, 2014 - 08:27

    never happen they can not tell you anything due to national security. and patronage services. have fun ghiz will NEVER allow it.

  • Parent
    February 05, 2014 - 06:22

    Someone should find out how much the recent junket to Toyko cost. Lots of staffers (who were handed their jobs due to "election assistance") are over their right now. Trips vs. assistance to PEI's youth.... guess you know where Ghiz' priorities lie... with himself. In fact, check out the number of "junkets" Ghiz's staff attended last year... and the number of staffers who now have company cars. Check out the number of new positions he created after the last election and the "fair and transparent" competitive process he used to staff these positions. Ghiz looks after himself, then those that help with his campaign, the construction companies and whatever is left is what we have for government services. PEI youth and islanders in general, are not his priority or even his interest, until election time. Islanders, make your feelings known. If you are a parent with an addicted child, face it, there is no help on PEI nor is there any real interest in providing any. It is all smoke and mirrors to make it look like something is coming.... and we just found out what that was - more cuts!

  • Joke
    February 04, 2014 - 23:44

    You can have all the mental health officers you like but ya don't know what's really going on . Unless you've experianced the path as an addict or parent of an addict you don't know . As far as the recent raids these are just petty runners , users trying to supplement there EI or social service income . I'm sure there are bigger people that bring drugs here than the 40 infivifuals . So this was just a little show to say "hey we did something " It not the "real deal " officials do not know how these individuals live on a day to day basis that have to live and then support a habit .or the reality of the extent . There are more pan handlers , kids and seniors going though the garbage for food scraps and recycle bins . Selling medications etc . When people are depressed about there situation they symptom management and mental pain is no different than physical pain . How many youth are going to go to a psycologist that they have to pay privately per hour at 23 years old . None , so I don't know where all these individuals get there information from . The system does not work . I am the parent year old addicted youth sinc. So don't tell me that I don't know first hand because I do . There are many dynamics to this culture group , lifestyle etc that you do not see only what you assume or get from a text book or a PHD . I don't believe it like minister of health or officers ever have a coffee at the soup kitchen or visiting the correctional center or addiction center speaking with the addicts or the homeless . Have they been to where these individuals live election time to the apt buildings , rooming houses or crack houses where these people have to live in conditions that are unsafe , or unhealthy . Probably not because they'd have to don a white suit in most mold bug infested places . That would be condemned as unfit . Maybe they have during election time I don't know or can say just how much they know see or do for foot work for a visual aspect . I really don't think that what is said is put into action .... For one eliminating the police presence in the school at a time where drug addiction is at a peak with absolutely no addiction or mental health plan or resources to go around . It just proves that give with one hand take from another double standard speeches . I really don't think that this government gives a RA except put on A big show of nothing ness . And I do not see action other than reducing staff ,instead of adding staff in these areas keeping what you have ,and then some extra . Instead of subtracting ,.especially when the issues at hand are at a critical all time high crisis level . PEI is not that small to know how drugs are getting here who is supplying in the amounts they are for the population . This is not a major city and the operation clean sweep in just a little window dressing .

  • same story
    February 04, 2014 - 15:15

    Opiate addiction is a huge problem in many places . Vermont the smallest state in the U.S. has a major problem. Is there not a way for a little place like P.E.I. to cooperate with other areas to find out how they are dealing with this scourge and learn how to use our limited resources the best we can.

    • The Best Thing to do is
      February 04, 2014 - 19:16

      Deport Grant and his lobby..........

  • candrayo
    February 04, 2014 - 13:31

    Government is too busy behaving as though in the middle of a huge custody battle with one another to worry about the children….etc. If only EGO could get the hell out of Politics….