Addictions consortium looking for leadership committee to implement alcohol, drug strategy

Central Alberta Addictions Consortium is looking for community members to work together to implement Red Deer’s new Alcohol and Drug Strategy.

Central Alberta Addictions Consortium is looking for community members to work together to implement Red Deer’s new Alcohol and Drug Strategy.

Presented to city council last fall, the strategy was officially launched at a community meeting at Westerner Park on Thursday.

The four-pillar approach looks at prevention, treatment, harm reduction and community safety, with recommendations to enhance existing services.

“We’re looking for a leadership committee of people who can really take some time to focus on the recommendations that have been made and brainstorm, problem solve, fundraise for grants to support the organizations out there already doing the work, or come up with ways to fill the gaps,” said consortium member Christine Stewart, who is also programs manager with McMan Youth, Family and Community Services Association.

The city’s Safety Charter identified the need for a local alcohol and drug strategy and in 2012, city council appointed the consortium to develop the strategy.

Consortium member Jennifer Vanderschaeghe said some of the recommendations are very forward thinking.

“One of the things we identified from a treatment perspective was that we have people who are living with addictions who don’t necessarily have the appropriate services they need around assisted living and palliative care. Sometimes what happens is the homeless shelters or the housing first programs have to fill that gap. For sure they’re happy to do that. But their skill and specialty is not around assisted living or palliation,” said Vanderschaeghe, who is also executive director of Central Alberta AIDS Network Society.

Mayor Tara Veer said addictions have been recognized by city council and the community as a top social priority and the city’s Safety Committee will have funds to allocate to community safety initiatives, like those put forward in the Alcohol and Drug Strategy.

“There are certainly some aspects that the City of Red Deer in the future will likely have to prioritize and exercise leadership over, but ultimately it’s a community plan and many of the initiatives will rest with our front line service providers for direct programming,” Veer said.

The deadline to apply for the leadership committee is June 1. Selection will be made over the summer. For more information, contact consortium chair Robecca Chahine at 403-340-8995.

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