Letter: Red Deer needs a treatment centre

There is a real need in our community for an addiction treatment centre. Health-care professionals, politicians, people who work with the homeless and addicted in the community, and the general population have all come to the realization that addiction is a mental health issue and should be treated as such. Recently I was told by a city councillor that the provincial government has given the City of Red Deer funding to do a feasibility study on the construction of a purpose-built mental health facility.

Red Deer already has a purpose-built facility for housing people with mental health issues. This facility is owned by the provincial government, is located within the Red Deer city limits, and is somewhat isolated from residential areas. It is currently sitting idle. It has dormitory rooms, kitchen and washroom facilities, office, and meeting spaces.

I am referring to the north campus of the Michener Center. I feel that any money that the city is spending on studies could be put to use getting this facility up and running.

The Fresh Start Recovery Centre in Calgary is one of the best treatment facilities in Canada. They offer a three-month program, with pre- and post-treatment available. The executive director of Fresh Start has told me that he is very interested in partnering with the Safe Harbour Society in Red Deer to get a Fresh Start-style treatment program going in our city. I feel that the model that Fresh Start uses is one of the best there is, and we would be lucky to have such a facility operating in our city. It is time to get past the studies and talking, and start saving and changing lives in our community.

Jim Kristinson, Red Deer

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