Red Deer’s Safe Harbour to open a detox centre staffed with nurses

It will mean less hospital visits for clients with severe withdrawal symptoms, says director

A medical detox centre will be opening in Red Deer this spring to help people overcome their alcohol and drug addictions.

“We’re very excited and happy about it,” said Kath Hoffman, executive director of the Safe Harbour Society. Her group has been running a 20-bed “social detox” since 2006 that mostly serves clients from the street population.

Since the facility has no medical staff on site, clients must manage their withdrawals from alcohol or drugs with just food, water and sleep. Whenever serious withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures, occur, the client must be rushed to Red Deer hospital’s emergency department, said Hoffman.

All that is about to change, since the Safe Harbour Society received about $400,000 in annual funding from Alberta Health Services to convert the social detox into a medical detox centre. Hoffman believes with more opiate addictions in the community, AHS wanted to beef up community supports.

The new funding will allow Safe Harbour to hire staff nurses to provide 24/7 medical intervention. She feels this will be far better for clients and cause less strain on hospital resources.

Most clients who use the facility are dealing with long-term alcohol addiction, which is difficult to quit safely. Hoffman said the medical detox’s higher level of support will help avoid negative outcomes.

A nurse was already hired to study best practises for medical detox centres, and to develop a service model that suits Red Deer’s needs. Depending on which model is chosen over the next month or two, Hoffman believes four to six nurses will soon be working around the clock. The registered or psychiatric nurses will monitor clients and administer medication as needed.

The Red Deer facility is already running at 90 to 95 per cent capacity, and she believes there could be even greater demand after the changes.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Construction underway at Medicine River Wildlife Centre in Red Deer

The new building is twice the size of the old one

Fish for free

No license is required to ice fish on Family Day weekend

Music industry struggles to shake ugly legacy of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll

TORONTO — Allegations of sexual misconduct swirling around pop-rockers Hedley have put… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer rings in the Chinese New Year

A couple hundred fill Festival Holiday to ring in the Year of the Dog

WATCH: From humble beginnings Red Deer-based wrestling promotion is growing

It wasn’t that long ago that Dylon Featherstone and the Canadian Wrestling… Continue reading

WATCH Replay Red Deer Feb. 18: Your weekly news highlights

Watch news from Red Deer and Central Alberta

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Life or death main decision for school shooting suspect

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The evidence against the Florida school shooting suspect… Continue reading

Man who stole millions from Seabird Island band sentenced to 4.5 years jail

Stephen MacKinnon sentenced in Chilliwack court for stealing $2.3 million over eight years

Vancouver artist’s cartoon of Florida school shooting resonates

Cartoon shows football coach, one of the victims, meeting others killed in school shootings

B.C. man brings dog to court as ‘best witness’

Man is defending himself on charges of uttering threats, possessing weapon for dangerous purposes

WATCH: Polar dippers brave icy water to raise money for Sylvan Lake charities

The water may have been cold, but the amount of money raised… Continue reading

WATCH: Cat yoga — the purr-fect de-stresser, says Red Deer-area cafe owner

Felines and humans stretch together each month at Alley Cat Cafe

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