The Ontario government announced on Tuesday that it is partnering with CAMH and other front line health care providers to improve access to opioid harm reduction services across the province. The total provincial investment is $222 million over the next three years.
“There is an urgent need for resources to address the opioid crisis in Ontario,” says CAMH President and CEO Dr. Catherine Zahn. “CAMH supports the comprehensive and evidence-informed measures announced today and will work closely with the provincial government to expand addiction care and supports provided at the primary care level in family health teams across Ontario.”
“The opioid crisis has a devastating impact on patients, their family and the front-line workers,” says Dr. Bernard Le Foll, head of CAMH’s Addiction Medicine Service and Medical Withdrawal Service, Acute Care Program. “The new investments in this area will have an important impact. We also are pleased by the long term commitment to improve the situation and look forward to support the provincial government on this initiative.”
Among the new initiatives is the development of addiction and treatment services targeted to the unique needs of Ontario youth.
“Developing specialized treatment for young people is a key component of any comprehensive opioid strategy,” says Dr. Joanna Henderson, Director of the Margaret and Wallace McCain Centre for Child, Youth and Family Mental Health. “We often assume that the treatment needs for youth are the same as for the adult population but in reality tailored intervention approaches are critical for optimizing youth outcomes, especially in regards to high risk situations, like the opioid crisis.”
CAMH recently announced enhancements to our own Opioid Overdose Prevention Strategy, including supplemental training for over 80 staff and easier access for clients to Naloxone kits that can counter the effect of an opioid overdose.
“The urgency of this public health opioid crisis requires an equally urgent, multi-level response throughout the health care system,” says Stephanie Carter, Clinical Director of CAMH’s Ambulatory Service Acute Care Program. “We welcome the Ontario government’s investment in support of the front line work we do at CAMH on opioid addiction and overdose prevention.”