“Our friends, family and neighbours suffering from addiction will have a place to go that’s close to home,” said Mayor Tara Veer after a new addiction recovery community was announced Saturday. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

“Our friends, family and neighbours suffering from addiction will have a place to go that’s close to home,” said Mayor Tara Veer after a new addiction recovery community was announced Saturday. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Red Deer gets new addiction recovery community

First of five to be built in the province

Red Deer will be the site of the first of five new addiction recovery communities in the province.

“These recovery communities are a continuation of our efforts at creating 4,000 addiction treatment spaces in the province and building a full continuum of care for people struggling with addiction,” Premier Jason Kenney said Saturday during a visit to the city.

The new $5 million, 75-bed facility, which will likely be built in the city’s north end, is outside the primary urban centre.

The deal to acquire the land is not yet finalized, but Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer said that is expected in the next 10 to 14 days.

The government said it hopes to have shovels in the ground on the new facility before winter hits.

“Our friends, family and neighbours suffering from addiction will have a place to go that’s close to home. We will continue to work with this government hand in hand as we build out further supports for the people of Red Deer,” Veer said.

RELATED: David Marsden: Finally help for our neighbours who suffer from addiction

While she was encouraged by the government’s announcement, Kath Hoffman, executive director at Safe Harbour Society, said the province needs to build on the care that’s already happening in the community.

“We want to make sure that that continuum of care they talked about continues to play out for people on the ground, for people who are still actively using and not ready for recovery. We know that that connection is the most important thing we can do,” she said.

“Our connections with people is to make sure they can stay alive and make it to recover. Our reality is there are people walking around all the time that are actively using. We have to pay attention and make sure they are not ignored.”

Recovery communities are also known as therapeutic communities and are a form of residential treatment for addiction. Supporters of these facilities regard recovery as a gradual, ongoing process of cognitive change through clinical and peer interventions.

Over a six to 12 month period, residents advance through the stages of treatment at their own pace, setting personal objectives and assuming greater responsibilities in the community along the way.

These recovery communities have been used in other parts of the world, and particularly, in Portugal.

“There is a widespread misunderstanding about the Portugues model… the reality is that there are legal consequences for people in Portugal who are arrested because of possession if they do not comply with alternatives,” he said.

“In fact, our government agrees with that approach, which is why we are expanding, as one of our platform commitments, alternative drug treatment courts.”

Kenney said his government’s model will take multi-tiered action to help individuals overcome drug addiction.

“I don’t think there’s any compassion in telling people they don’t have moral agency. There’s no compassion in telling people that recovery isn’t really possible for them,” he said.

“There’s not much compassion in facilitating the destructive nature of drug addiction. There is great compassion in offering a holistic alternative.”

Jason Luan, the associate minister of mental health and addictions, noted there is not yet an answer on how the government will fill the gap before the new facility is built, with funding set to expire on Red Deer’s overdose prevention site in September.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, reported an additional 1,307 COVID-19 cases Tuesday. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Central zone up to 1,249 active COVID-19 cases

Red Deer sits at 257 active COVID-19 cases

Const. Jason Tress
Mountie testifies another RCMP officer sexually assaulted her at 2012 party

Former Mountie on trial for sexual assault in connection with incident in northwestern Alberta

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau leaves the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Conservatives push for parliamentary committee study into failed vaccine deal

OTTAWA — The federal Conservatives are calling for a parliamentary committee to… Continue reading

(Black Press file photo).
Pregancy Care Centre seeks support through online fundraiser

The annual banquet was cancelled, due to the pandemic

(Red Deer Advocate file photo).
Registrations for Red Deer recreation programs delayed

Sign-up for sports and culture programs starts Jan. 12

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

Toronto police respond to an incident at St. Michael’s College School, in Toronto, Nov. 19, 2018. The trial of a teen accused of sexually assaulting two students at a prestigious Toronto high school is set to resume today. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Trial resumes for teen accused in St. Michael’s College School sex assault case

Defence lawyers for a teen accused of sexually assaulting two students at… Continue reading

Minister of Health Patty Hajdu responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The Trump administration is keeping silent about Canada blocking its plan to import prescription drugs from north of the border. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trump admin silent after Hajdu pushes back on U.S. plan to raid Canada’s drug cabinet

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Trump administration is keeping silent about Canada blocking… Continue reading

Quebec City mayor Regis Labeaume, right, speaks at the inauguration of a memorial to the 2017 mosque shooting, Tuesday, December 1, 2020 in Quebec City. From the left, Luce Pelletier, artist who designed the memorial, MP Joel Lightbound, Boufeldja Benabdallah, and MNA Joelle Boutin.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Quebec City’s memorial to 2017 mosque shooting victims symbolizes defeat of hatred

Quebec City has inaugurated a memorial to the victims of the 2017… Continue reading

A scene from last year’s Light the Night fundraiser at the Stettler Town and Country Museum. This year’s rendition is on a drive-through basis only, but it still promises to be a not-to-be-missed seasonal highlight. (Independent file photo)
Stettler Town and Country Museum hosts ‘Light the Night’

This year’s rendition is drive-through only, but will still prove to be a dazzling display

Alberta restaurants face new regulations aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19, Photo from Trolley 5 Brewery and Restaurant Facebook page
Restaurants working under new restrictions in central Alberta

Starting last Friday, any area in the province with more than 50… Continue reading

Opinion piece
Opinion: A down payment on recovery, details to come

Just to be clear: Justin Trudeau’s government has not acquired the ability… Continue reading

(Black Press File Photo)
Rimbey woman gathering Christmas gifts for seniors at Valleyview Manor

Margaret Tanasiuk says she doesn’t want anyone to feel forgotten on Christmas morning

Most Read