opinion

Treatment and recovery: Access to services and safe communities is priority for Alberta government

Alberta has been working to establish a full continuum of care for people struggling with addiction, inclusive of prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery.

Last year Alberta’s government invested $1.69 billion in mental health and addictions across all ministries.

Never in Alberta’s history has it been easier for people with addiction to get treatment.

Last November, Alberta became the first province in Canada to eliminate daily user fees for publicly-funded residential addiction treatment. This means that all Albertans regardless of their socio-economic status have access to lifesaving treatment.

Dramatically improving access to care through the rapid expansion of treatment capacity in the province will save countless lives now and into the future.

Our Alberta model has made investments in opioid agonist therapies, as well as investments in opioid dependency clinics to provide psychosocial support. Alberta’s government has expanded the virtual opioid dependency programs, which currently have no wait lists. These programs supply evidence-based medications like Suboxone and Methodone.

Alberta has achieved the highest rate of dispensing these treatments, and the overdose reversal drug naloxone, on record. We have not reduced the community capacity to distribute clean needles and naloxone as some claim.

Our Alberta model is supported by experts across the province and across the country.

Alberta is a national leader in taking concrete action to implement a recovery oriented approach, including keeping our promise to create 4,000 additional treatment spaces in the province, directing non-violent offenders to drug treatment court, and building recovery communities across the province.

Our government is committed to a high quality and easily accessible system of care for both mental health and addiction that includes a full continuum of supports.

Albertans deserve no less. People with addiction deserve no less.

Jason Luan is the Associate Minister for Mental Health and Addictions.

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