CKDR published Jun 13, 2022
Written by Mike Ebbeling
An innovative new program to provide resources and supports to individuals with addictions concerns has been established by the Dryden Regional Health Centre.
The Rapid Access Addiction Medicine Clinic is a collaboration between the hospital and St. Joseph’s Care Group in Thunder Bay and it provides a holistic approach to addictions treatment with supports from nurse practitioners, mental health therapists and physician support.
Marcel Penner is Director of Mental Health and Addictions Services at DRHC and says clients can expect a respectful, confidential space to receive help without judgement.
“Many people may not feel comfortable approaching their regular pathways of primary care, their doctor, nurse, emergency department, because people feel stigmatized. Sometimes people feel uncomfortable talking about those concerns in those spaces. So what the RAAM Clinic aims to do is provide a safe space, non-stigmatizing, supportive, wrap-around service to people who want to address their concerns for addiction.”
Penner notes addictions concerns could include alcohol, opiates, amphetamine, or other substances.
He stresses there is a need in the Dryden area for additional supports and this will help address that.
Penner says, “Services are available to anyone. They just simply have to contact our mental health agency here at the Dryden Regional Health Centre. It’s 223-6678. They can phone themselves, they can refer themselves or if they do have that kind of relationship with their doctor or nurse practitioner, they can instead have them call it in or send a letter of referral.”
He adds, “The intakes come through our mental health department and then we setup the clinic appointment. There is a bit of a process, so, even though the clinics run weekly, once a week (Monday afternoons), the idea is to try to get people connected as quickly as possible.”
The clinic operates at the Dryden Area Family Health Team building with a “No Wrong Door” approach, meaning clients can receive the supports for any substance abuse disorder, and be connected with the appropriate level of treatment based on their needs when they are ready to seek assistance.