Rural Opioid Dependency Program has been expanded to include Red Deer and area. (Photo contributed)

Rural Opioid Dependency Program now available in Red Deer

Suboxone and counselling treatment for addiction

The Rural Opioid Dependency Program has been expanded to include Red Deer and area as the city struggles amidst the opioid crisis.

The videoconferencing program that eliminates the need to travel for treatment started last spring for Central Albertans in and around Rocky Mountain House, Stettler, Ponoka and Wetaskiwin, Sylvan Lake, Olds, Drayton Valley, Camrose, and Wainwright.

Funded by Alberta Health, clients work with counsellors and receive the medication Suboxone to deal with their withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings.

Program director Dr. Nathaniel Day, based out of Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury in Ponoka, said Red Deer needs more help and the program is another treatment tool.

Of the approximately 200 active clients, 20 are now from the Red Deer area and there’s room for more.

“The people that we are treating aren’t overdosing. They’re not dying. They’re not going to emergency rooms for visits related to opioids and opioid overdoses and opioid-related problems. They’re significantly more likely to be getting back to work and back to their regular lives before they got trapped on an opioid,” Day said.

He said most Red Deer clients go to Alberta Health Services Central Zone’s 49th Street Community Health Centre to videoconference. They receive their Suboxone at local pharmacies.

“If we had a young person who phoned us today, we’d likely be able to get them into treatment today or tomorrow.”

For information or to access to the Rural Opioid Dependency Program call toll-free 1-844-383-7688.

Day said statistics show that men in their early 30s and women in their late 20s are more likely to die from an overdose. However men are four times more likely to die. So far there’s only slightly more men than women in the program.

“Many people we see got into opioids because of recreational drugs. We also see many people who got into opioids because they were prescribed something. They had an injury, they had a surgery, got onto an opioid and then for whatever reason individually, ended up getting hooked on the pills.”

Clients are responsible for the cost of Suboxone, which may be covered under health plans.

He said many clients get emergency medication coverage through the provincial government that gives them 100 per cent coverage for a short time. Clients can also access supplemental medication benefit through Alberta Blue Cross, which is subsidized by the province. The benefit takes about three months to access and covers a portion of Suboxone costs.

Day said the Rural Opioid Dependency Program will help clients apply for coverage.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

WATCH: Red Deer celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Day

A celebration ceremony was held at City Hall Park Thursday afternoon

Sylvan Lake presents waterfront concept

Sustainable Waterfront Area Redevelopment Plan will provide 20-year vision

Red Deer-raised artist wins the chance to exhibit at San Diego Comic Con

Micaela Dawn said courage can’t exist without fear

BioBlitz set for Lacombe Lake

Well-known Alberta naturalist to take stock of Lacombe Lake’s flora, fauna and fungi

Red Deer elementary school students play Indigenous games

Annie L. Gaetz Schools holds first-ever First Nations, Métis and Inuit Field Day Thursday

Deadline for property tax payments coming for Red Deer residents

For property owners in Red Deer, the taxman cometh. The deadline for… Continue reading

Town of Ponoka, AUPE set to resume negotiations in July

Town council rejected agreement reached between administration and union

New evidence that viruses may play a role in Alzheimer’s

WASHINGTON — Viruses that sneak into the brain just might play a… Continue reading

Amber Tamblyn novel flips gender stereotypes as it examines rape culture

TORONTO — Actress and author Amber Tamblyn started writing “Any Man,” her… Continue reading

Mike Colter brings the pain as the indestructible Luke Cage

ATLANTA — “Black Panther” broke box office records, but “Luke Cage” once… Continue reading

Toronto police strike blow to gang with ties to the U.S. and Caribbean: chief

Toronto police say they’ve taken down a large portion of a street… Continue reading

Canada focusing on existing climate plan, has no timeline to increase ambition

OTTAWA — Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says Canada has no immediate plans… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month