Calgary Drop-In Centre Explores Addiction Recovery Services Amid Opioid Crisis Posted on July 7, 2022September 16, 2023 by aprilia As the opioid crisis continues to plague communities, the Calgary Drop-In Centre is contemplating an expansion of its services to support individuals through all stages of addiction, from overdose prevention to detox and recovery management. The initiative comes as a response to the pressing need to address complex mental health and addiction issues in the region. A Holistic Approach to Addiction Sandra Clarkson, the Executive Director of the Calgary Drop-In Centre, revealed that the provincial government has approached the center to explore the possibility of incorporating recovery-oriented services into its existing framework. This holistic approach would encompass overdose prevention services licensed by the province, as well as withdrawal management and support to facilitate the transition to treatment and recovery. The urgency of this expansion is underscored by the alarming statistics related to drug poisoning. The center has been witnessing an increasing number of drug poisoning reversals, with an estimated 1,500 expected reversals this year alone. Recognizing the need for additional services and pathways out of addiction, the Calgary Drop-In Centre is taking proactive steps to address the crisis comprehensively. The Path Forward To move forward with this endeavor, the Calgary Drop-In Centre will require approvals from its board of directors, Alberta Health Services, and Alberta Health. If all necessary approvals are obtained in a timely manner, the center hopes to implement the programming within six to nine months. As part of the process, the center will conduct community consultations to ensure that the proposed services align with the needs and preferences of the community. The Broader Context: Opioid Crisis in Alberta The province of Alberta has been grappling with an opioid crisis, prompting a concerted effort to establish a recovery-oriented provincial system. Although recent data indicates a seven percent decrease in opioid-related deaths in April compared to the previous month, opioid fatalities continue to surpass pre-pandemic levels. In April, Alberta recorded 113 opioid-related deaths, while Calgary reported 29 deaths from drug poisoning. Over the course of 2022, 184 people in the city died from drug poisoning. From Reactive to Proactive Measures Currently, the Calgary Drop-In Centre’s overdose prevention measures are primarily reactive, involving regular bathroom checks. By expanding its services, the center aims to transition to a more proactive approach. This shift will enable the facility to respond promptly when individuals are ready to seek addiction treatment services. Timely access to withdrawal management and detox services is crucial in addressing addiction effectively. Comprehensive Support The Calgary Drop-In Centre envisions that the new services will be supported by a team of professionals, including doctors, nurses, and peer and social support workers. Additionally, the center plans to operate a community outreach team that will collaborate with existing services in the region. This collaborative approach is expected to enhance the effectiveness of addiction recovery efforts. Government and Community Response The provincial government has been exploring various avenues to address the opioid crisis. One of these efforts includes transitioning from safe consumption sites to overdose prevention services. Safe consumption sites are federally regulated and intended to be permanent, whereas overdose prevention services are provincially licensed and designed to be temporary. Other organizations, such as Alpha House, have also been approached by the province to consider adding overdose prevention sites to their existing services. The exploration of these initiatives reflects a broader commitment to building a recovery-oriented system of care that provides a continuum of support to individuals struggling with addiction. A Vision for Recovery-Oriented Care In summary, the Calgary Drop-In Centre’s endeavor to expand its addiction recovery services is a significant step toward addressing the ongoing opioid crisis in Alberta. The proposed services aim to provide comprehensive support to individuals at all stages of addiction, ultimately guiding them toward treatment, recovery, and housing. By adopting a recovery-oriented approach, the center and its partners seek to create a more responsive and effective system of care for those affected by addiction in the community.