Access to seven doctors, along with 24-hour care nursing care, is helping Central Albertans with their addiction withdrawal symptoms at Safe Harbour Society’s medical detoxification program.
Dr. Michael Mulholland, lead doctor with program and head of family medicine at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, said usually four people show up every day looking to join the 20-bed detox program.
“When I heard about what was happening here I thought this is a really good way of detoxing people in another facility outside the hospital with the integrated approach that Safe Harbour brings,” Mulholland said.
“To have it happen here I think it’s a better approach. It’s a more holistic approach, … , with the housing and the mat program and just the atmosphere of Safe Harbour.”
He said severe withdrawal, and people with complicated medical problems, still require a hospital for detoxification. But when people don’t need a hospital, more are realizing they can go to Safe Harbour where staff make sure people know that if they don’t make it through the detox program they can come back and try again.
Fentanyl addiction is a growing trend among people coming to detox, he said.
“Just keep coming back here. It’s a matter of life and death.”
Mulholland said detox is a chance for someone to start a new life and assists families in Central Alberta with members struggling with addiction.
“You have no idea the hurt they’re dealing with if they have a loved one that’s going through addiction. It’s our neighbours. It’s people we’re dealing with day in and day out.”