It's time for action on addictions, Doug Currie says

Teresa Wright
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Health minister promises action on recommendations in addictions report to be released in coming weeks

Prince Edward Island Health Minister Doug Currie

Health Minister Doug Currie says the time for talk and study on addictions is over — it’s now time for action.

Currie has faced tough criticism in the last few weeks over long waiting times for mental health and addictions services and a lack of treatment options for Islanders struggling with these diseases.

The Opposition Tories have raised concerns regularly in the legislature, and earlier this month, a protest was staged in front of Province House, with more than 100 people calling for more supports and treatments for Islanders with addictions.

Currie says he hears their concerns and is taking action.

He plans to release a list of recommendation from the chief mental health and addictions officer, Dr. Rhonda Matters — a list he says he will act upon immediately.

“We’re not waiting for months and years to respond to this issue. We’ve done enough talking, we’ve read enough reports, the time now is for implementation and action,” Currie said.

On Friday, Opposition health critic James Aylward once again challenged Currie on the issue — this time on why a new advisory committee struck to advise Matters has not yet had one meeting.

“Mental health and addictions is a very serious issue on P.E.I. We know, we’re hearing from Islanders on a daily basis how serious it is. But yet this committee that is supposed to be helping this chief officer bring forward recommendations has not even met,” Aylward said.

“These recommendations that you announced last week will be forthcoming in the next two weeks, how can you trust that they’re what needs to be done when this health officer hasn’t even found the time to meet with the experts?”

Currie explained that Matters has spent the last five months meeting with frontline staff and stakeholders to get a real understanding of all the issues. He also has had weekly meetings with Matters to get briefings on her progress.

As for the committee not meeting, conflicting schedules are to blame and a meeting will happen soon.

But Aylward said Currie’s explanations sounded more like excuses and rhetoric, accusing government of not doing enough to provide people in P.E.I. with adequate mental health and addictions treatment.

“How can you look Island families in the face and tell them that we’re not going to wait for action any longer when you are continually the minister of inaction?”

Currie fired back, forcefully reiterating that he plans to move forward on tangible actions and investments.

 

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa

Organizations: Province House

Geographic location: P.E.I.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • enough already
    April 28, 2014 - 17:06

    Doug Currie ,who by the way is a fine person could throw every cent on P.E.I. at the addicts and nothing would change . The only thing that changes an addicts behavior is the addict and the people who enable them. There are programs out there that a free, but are scoffed at by the self centered fools that grab anything they can get there hands on to feel different about themselves.

  • DonaldJW
    April 28, 2014 - 17:02

    I am so sick of these cry-babies and their addictions, go look in the mirror.

  • Sammy J
    April 28, 2014 - 16:58

    My taxes better not go up because of these pillheads.

  • june
    April 28, 2014 - 13:27

    i think I hear a election coming..currie you should be ashamed of yourself,i am definitely ashamed of this government.your name does not even deserve to begin with a capital letter.

  • Margaret
    April 28, 2014 - 13:11

    Well it's about time someone has realized it. Having experienced the complete lack of compassion and even competency of the mental health system in the ER last week with a friend, I now know it is DEFINITELY time for change!! We waited in emerg for 6 hours only to be seen by a resident and a psych nurse who claimed there was nothing they could do because it was after hours. We had arrived at 2pm and were told we would be next. We weren't seen until 8pm so the after hours thing was not our problem!!! It was the fault of the hospital who could have had my friend seen while there was a specialist on call. Best part.....as we were leaving there was a psychiatrist there but the psych nurse told him he didn't need to see my friend as she was sending her home. Since when do the nurses get to make these calls? There are too many glitches in the system! There needs to be standards and protocols that are followed for EVERYONE who walks through the doors of the ER with mental health and addictions issues. I also know this from my own dealings with the system. There are so many gaps in the system, so many resources lacking! The docs are doing their best with what they have (well most of them) but give them something to work with here!! There is no more time to just wait for reports and studies, we are losing lives, people are dying from addictions and mental health issues. Their lives are no less important than the lives of those who are battling with a chronic illness such as cancer or heart disease. A life is a life is a life!!! Do something here before more are lost. This is beyond ridiculous!! What if Minister Currie doesn't agree with Rhonda Matter's recommendations or what if her recommendations do not address what this Island needs? Does that mean another year or more of studies and reports?? The time to do something is NOW!! It's can not be pt off any longer. We need action not empty promises!

  • Margaret
    April 28, 2014 - 13:07

    Well it's about time someone has realized it. Having experienced the complete lack of compassion and even competency of the mental health system in the ER last week with a friend, I now know it is DEFINITELY time for change!! We waited in emerg for 6 hours only to be seen by a resident and a psych nurse who claimed there was nothing they could do because it was after hours. We had arrived at 2pm and were told we would be next. We weren't seen until 8pm so the after hours thing was not our problem!!! It was the fault of the hospital who could have had my friend seen while there was a specialist on call. Best part.....as we were leaving there was a psychiatrist there but the psych nurse told him he didn't need to see my friend as she was sending her home. Since when do the nurses get to make these calls? There are too many glitches in the system! There needs to be standards and protocols that are followed for EVERYONE who walks through the doors of the ER with mental health and addictions issues. I also know this from my own dealings with the system. There are so many gaps in the system, so many resources lacking! The docs are doing their best with what they have (well most of them) but give them something to work with here!! There is no more time to just wait for reports and studies, we are losing lives, people are dying from addictions and mental health issues. Their lives are no less important than the lives of those who are battling with a chronic illness such as cancer or heart disease. A life is a life is a life!!! Do something here before more are lost. This is beyond ridiculous!! What if Minister Currie doesn't agree with Rhonda Matter's recommendations or what if her recommendations do not address what this Island needs? Does that mean another year or more of studies and reports?? The time to do something is NOW!! It's can not be pt off any longer. We need action not empty promises!

  • Currie-in-over-his-head
    April 28, 2014 - 12:41

    TMA, if Currie were smarter, this issue would have been dealt with long ago. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out with students, addicts, parents, police, judges, doctors, staff at Mt. Herbert all saying the same thing..."'we have an addiction problem on PEI" so he has been aware of this problem for a long time . It also wouldn't take a mathematician to figure out that the cost of social services, policing, keeping the people who commit crimes in jail, and costs to the health department would far outway the cost of treatment. And all of that doesn't take into account the cost to the families and loved ones from this horrible horrible disease. The cost of treating this disease has grown expontentially since it was in Doug Currie's hands and now it has reached a crisis stage. How can that fact be defended? People have died. Families have been torn apart. Currie has to accept that he played a huge part in allowing that to happen by not providing adequate treatment of a disease that there is a ton of information on. Why would our addictions on PEI be any different from those in Halifax? How much do you want to bet that the report recommends more beds in Portage? It would be their quick and easy way of continuing to do nothing at all.

  • dictum
    April 28, 2014 - 12:01

    Sure Mr. Currie has a difficult job, - but the difficulty is being created partly because this Government does not have experienced people around them. They chose cronies, family, party hacks instead of smart, experienced people. The current deputy bombed out in Innovation, so they put him in health. The former deputy of Tourism bombed out (really bombed out), so they put her in Innovation, and now she is finally plowing her wisdom at UPEI. The Premiers office suffered from the same malaise from day one -, too many inept cronies. That is why decisions are slow in coming and most of the time not the right ones. Aside from that comes of course the evasions, half truth, if not down right lies, peddled by this government, We harvest as we sow-------

    • AnonymousIslander
      April 28, 2014 - 14:45

      The ineptitude reaches well down into the ranks. If it were as simple as shuffling a Minister now and then we might be better off. No, it's a deeper decay within the ranks of the department and within Health PEI, caused by ladder-climbing sycophants who put themselves before the people they were supposed to serve.

  • TMA
    April 28, 2014 - 09:53

    OK. Former Islander who does not know Mr. Currie personally. Bu serioulsy, stand down and give this man a break. He juggles a very convtroversial portfolio and faces criticism on everything from salaries, to wait times, access to specialists and addictions is a growing problem. I am sure that he is quite aware of the issues of addiction and how it affects island families but the serious business of treating drug addiction, requires serious planning and serious money. It won't happen overnight and unfortunately it is too late for some and won't be soon enough for others. BUt, you can be assured that he is not sitting back and holding out on purpose. he's doing his job...just let him. If you think you can do better, run for office. The complaining is why I left....

  • Jenna
    April 28, 2014 - 07:44

    I'll believe it when I see it...

  • AnonymousIslander
    April 28, 2014 - 07:33

    Why hasn't the advisory commitee met? What would be the point, it's just a bunch of Health PEI career hacks with no original ideas between them. Their biggest concern is keeping their own paychecks coming in.

  • don
    April 28, 2014 - 07:06

    currie you are a JOKE. time for more reasearch take another 10 years to find out what your /our staff in the health already knows. you are a fake as a minister of health. how many years did you go to medical school?

  • mark
    April 28, 2014 - 06:51

    the time for action was a long time ago the conflicting schedules should have taken a back seat to this issue. this is an island issue and one that the government(no matter what color) needs to take care of. when a judge asks the MLA's to come to her courtroom to see the damage addiction is inflicting on the people of this great province you go and you sit there and watch the pain and suffering of the addicts and their families. so shut up and get it done enough people have died and more then enough time has been wasted

  • mark
    April 28, 2014 - 06:46

    Its only time for action because of the public pressure. Other than that, you never have said a thing about it hoping it would be swept under the rug. Quit trying to look good Currie, you are not fooling anyone.