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Red Deer city council to consult with province about becoming a ‘recovery community’

Most treatment centres fall under provincial authority
(Advocate file photo)

Red Deer city council resolved to contact the provincial ministers of mental health/addictions and social services before taking the next step towards becoming a “recovery community.”

Mayor Ken Johnston sought to apply a new recovery-based approach to Red Deer’s opioid problem through a notice of motion he put before council in October.

At that time, councillors asked the city’s Safety and Healthy communities team to come up with a report on what the city’s next step in that direction should be, given addiction treatment facilities generally fall under provincial, not municipal, authority.

On Monday, acting on the department’s recommendations, council opted to contact Addictions and Mental Health Minister Nicholas Milliken and Social Services Minister Jeremy Nixon to understand what progress has been made towards building a recovery-oriented system of care in the province.

Johnston had wanted the city to adopt an Alberta government report, Towards an Alberta Model of Wellness as a guideline. It views recovery as an on-going personal journey, instead of living up to imposed outcomes.

Under this model, the recovery community tries to meet someone in the place where they are, instead of expecting the person with addictions to meet various external conditions. Each person’s recovery goal is individually defined — and does not necessarily have to include abstinence.

This model involves a person “living a satisfying, hopeful and contributing life, even when they may be experiencing ongoing symptoms of mental illness or substance use,” according to a report on the Alberta Health Services website.

With a couple of addiction treatment centres about to start operating in the city and the Red Deer drug court now working, Johnston felt the time was right to look at other, better ways of dealing with people with addictions.