Manitoba Government Invests $893,000 for new Indigenous-Led Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine Clinic
January 24, 2023
Evidence-based Treatment Services will be Provided Through Culturally Relevant Programs: Guillemard
The Manitoba government is investing $893,000 to implement a new Indigenous-led Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine (RAAM) clinic at the Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre (AHWC) in Winnipeg, Mental Health and Community Wellness Minister Sarah Guillemard announced today.
“Manitobans are experiencing harms related to substance use, so our government is taking concrete action to ensure a wide range of evidence-based addictions supports are available to those who need them,” said Guillemard. “We are committed to advancing reconciliation and we recognize the importance of working collaboratively with Indigenous organizations, rights-holders and community partners to support the mental health and well-being of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.”
The clinic will offer culturally safe and relevant programming to clients, Guillemard noted, adding that AHWC has nurtured extensive community partnerships and is well positioned to ensure individuals receive the supports they need throughout their recovery journeys.
Expected to open this spring, the clinic will operate five days per week with some extended hours in the late afternoons and early evenings to increase accessibility. It will initially provide up to 2,300 patient visits per year with the potential to expand its capacity in the future, the minister said.
“RAAM clinics allow individuals living with addiction to access a variety of relevant supports in one place, making it easier for them to navigate the health-care system,” said Della Herrera, executive director, AHWC. “Placing an Indigenous-led RAAM clinic at the Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre will make it easier for people in our community living with addiction to get the help they need, when they need it.”
AHWC will also work with the Manitoba Mobile Addiction Team to Increase Community Capacity and Access to provide ongoing virtual support to Indigenous peoples residing in rural and northern areas, the minister said.
RAAM clinics have proven to be a successful model of care for the treatment of addictions, the minister added. The clinics offer wraparound supports including assessments, counselling and prescriptions of appropriate medication such as opiate agonist treatment, as well as referrals to withdrawal management services, community treatment programs and primary health-care providers.
“RAAM makes a difference in lives every day by providing access to doctors, nurses, clinicians, peer support workers, medication, withdrawal management services and other treatments,” said Britney Easter, a RAAM peer support worker and person with lived experience. “More than people and processes, it gives real hope and the access to turn that hope into recovery. RAAM opens doors to finding a life that seemed lost. Every clinic that opens means hundreds, maybe thousands of people will have a chance to recover.”
The new facility will be the seventh RAAM clinic in Manitoba and the third in Winnipeg. The other clinics are in Brandon, Thompson, Portage la Prairie and Selkirk.
Since 2018, the Manitoba government has invested more than $10 million in RAAM clinics. In recent months, the minister announced funding to expand services and hours of operation at several RAAM clinics, including $538,000 for opiate agonist treatment at the clinic in Selkirk and $390,000 for the clinics in Winnipeg, Portage la Prairie and Thompson.
Between August 2018 and December 2022, close to 7,000 individuals received RAAM services across the province. The clinics are also working to expand virtual and mobile services to ensure better access to treatment, the minister noted.
The RAAM clinic investments align with A Pathway to Mental Health and Community Wellness: A Roadmap for Manitoba, a five-year strategy announced by the minister last year to guide the province’s mental health, substance use and addictions recovery services as well as broader wellness promotion and programs.
Since 2019, the Manitoba government has announced over 52 initiatives valued at more than $65 million to improve mental health and addictions services throughout the province.
For more information on RAAM clinics, visit https://sharedhealthmb.ca/services/mental-health/raam-clinic/.
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