The Associate Minister for Mental Health says 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,” Jason Luan told Lakeland Connect. “Never in Alberta’s history has it been easier for people with addiction to get treatment.
Luan says 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,” Luan said. “Dramatically improving access to care through the rapid expansion of treatment capacity in the province will save countless lives now and into the
Luan further explained that the 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,” Luan said. “These programs supply evidence-based medications like Suboxone and Methodone.”
Luan says 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,” Luan said. “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.”
Luan says that the 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,” Luan said. “People with addiction deserve no less.”
You can learn about the Alberta Model by listening to the Council of the Federation (Canada’s Premier’s) Promising Practices podcast here.