Wait for methadone treatment one-sixth of what it was

Steve
Steve Bartlett
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Health Minister Susan Sullivan. — Telegram file photo

People addicted to opiate drugs such as OxyContin aren’t waiting as long to get into the province’s methadone program.

In February, there were 180 people in the queue and they faced an 18-month wait.

As of last week, the number of people waiting was down to 34 and the delay in getting treatment was four months.

Health Minister Susan Sullivan provided The Telegram with the numbers Friday.

She attributes the reduction to the addition of a new physician at the Opioid Treatment Centre in Pleasantville earlier this year.

“We are continually making investments and making differences and I think, if anything, that particular statistic itself shows we are making significant differences,” she said.

New Democrat Gerry Rogers has previously expressed concerns about the wait times for the methadone program.

She was glad to hear the delay is now shorter and that another doctor had been hired.

“I think that’s really good news,” she said.

However, the MHA for St. John’s Centre said addiction remains a big problem and there’s still a lot to do.

She’d like a true medical detox program — which she says would involve doctors and a complete medical approach — established.

“The success rate is higher, and we still don’t have that,” she said.

As well, Rogers wants more done to address the causes of addiction, factors like poverty and homelessness.

And she’d like more done to prevent young people from becoming addicted. She suggests enhanced arts and recreation programs in schools.

“We need stuff to make them feel good about themselves,” she said.

Sullivan said tackling drug addiction and preventing it are “exceptionally important to me as minister and to my department.”

She said Health and Community Services works effectively with numerous stakeholders, including methadone program participants, to devise plans and continue dealing with the problem.

The minister noted two new interactive websites were in the works, one for youth with addiction or mental health issues and another where service providers can exchange information.

“I’ve think we’ve done a good job at looking at what kinds of specific actions now can we put in place to try to deal with this very, very significant problem in society,” she said.

sbartlett@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @SteveBartlett_

Organizations: Opioid Treatment Centre, Health and Community Services

Geographic location: Pleasantville

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  • John
    August 28, 2012 - 09:31

    There is a statistic stating that about 15 - 20% of children suffer some kind of abuse. That could be sexual, emotional, physical, verbal, psychological, etc. It is also proven that abuse victims use the judicial system, health system shelterer housing, etc. Government should be putting counselling on a higher level with appropiatly trained professionals in a multi-tiered system such as combining sexual abuse with physical and psychological services. This would enable the patient to receive the appropriate counselling to get at the root cause of the problem. Then counselling could be given to the resulting effects of the root cause. This could enable the victims to become fully functional members of society.

  • wayne
    August 28, 2012 - 09:07

    Think very hard about the minister's statement. The delay for treatment has dropped from 18 months to 4 months. Yes that is a very significant change....BUT.....to tell a desperate addict that they must wait 4 months for treatement is like telling a starving person they must wait 4 months for food. The addict needs their fix TODAY they will lie , steal , cheat ...sell their bodies......do anything to get that fix......so saying that the wait is 4 months is saying there will be 4 more months of that. The crime rate, number or police calls, court time, health care time and cost could ALL be significantly improved with more locally available clinics and dispensaries and a SECURE detox centre. Folks will remember a young woman who threw gas over a store clerk a while ago.........she was DESPERATE for her fix. Remember the person who ASKED for federal jail time so they could get treatment ?? ............a wait time of DAYS is reasonable ..not weeks or months.