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P.E.I. health minister mum on overdose prevention site details, says it is a ‘top priority’



CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — P.E.I. Well being Minister Mark McLane is revealing neither the deliberate location nor the opening date for an overdose prevention web site in Charlottetown however informed the legislature the positioning is an “absolute precedence.”

McLane was requested by Inexperienced MLA Karla Bernard about overdose prevention providers throughout query interval on Could 26. Bernard famous the province’s price range, tabled Could 25, made no point out of an overdose prevention web site.

Overdose prevention websites permit people to make use of illicit medication within the presence of educated well being employees who can revive them in case of an unintentional overdose. Since 2019, 28 Island residents have died as a consequence of opioid-related overdoses. Substances like fentanyl have more and more contaminated Canada’s illicit drug provide.

“What number of extra Islanders should overdose and what number of extra will die earlier than this authorities meaningfully improves dependancy providers for Islanders?” Bernard requested.

McLane famous the province does present some providers for individuals who use illicit medication, resembling fentanyl take a look at strips which can be provided by Charlottetown’s needle change program.

“It really could be very a lot a high precedence for our division,” McLane mentioned of the deliberate overdose prevention web site.

“We all know the significance of it. It reduces public substance abuse, discarded needles. It’s been confirmed to guard folks from hurt.”

Charlottetown’s new overdose prevention site was to have opened at 33 Belmont St. A local controversy and an election campaign have thrown the service's future into question. - Logan MacLean/SaltWire file
Charlottetown’s new overdose prevention web site was to have opened at 33 Belmont St. An area controversy and an election marketing campaign have thrown the service’s future into query. – Logan MacLean/SaltWire file

The opening of an overdose prevention web site had been deliberate at 33 Belmont St. in Charlottetown earlier this 12 months. Nonetheless, within the midst of the current election marketing campaign, greater than 100 residents of a close-by neighbourhood campaigned towards opening the service in that location. Many claimed the positioning was situated too near a close-by daycare and that the province had didn’t seek the advice of with neighbours.

Premier Dennis King pledged throughout the marketing campaign to discover a new location for the well being service.

In an interview, McLane reaffirmed his assist for the positioning however didn’t establish a web site wherein the service shall be situated, nor did he present a timeline for it to open.

“We have to transfer on this quick. We all know the significance of it,” he mentioned. “Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland are the one two jurisdictions that do not have it. So, we do want it.”

A sign outside of the Health P.E.I. office on Charlottetown’s Garfield Street. - Stu Neatby/SaltWire file
An indication exterior of the Well being P.E.I. workplace on Charlottetown’s Garfield Road. – Stu Neatby/SaltWire file

New psychological well being groups

The not too long ago tabled price range additionally included $2.7 million in funding for a brand new psychological well being service, referred to as Versatile Assertive Group Therapy Groups or FACT groups.

The 2 groups shall be composed of social employees, occupational therapists, peer assist employees and psychological well being nurses. The groups will present wrap-around providers to people with severe psychological sickness as an alternative choice to admission to the province’s already crowded ERs.

“We need to transfer to community-based care. We need to preserve folks out of hospitals as a lot as we are able to. So, I believe that is one other solution to assist shoppers the place they’re at,” McLane informed reporters.

McLane added the brand new groups are designed to assist complicated instances, together with some people combating dependancy. Related providers have been launched elsewhere in Canada and internationally.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the groups present long-term engagement with people of their communities, offering remedy that features medicine administration.

It’s unclear if the FACT groups will present medicine administration in P.E.I.

The price range additionally features a $500,000 allocation for a short-stay unit on the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Islanders with psychological well being wants.

Stu Neatby is a political reporter with SaltWire in Prince Edward Island. He may be reached by electronic mail at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter @stu_neatby.

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