Manitoba Liberals Announce 24/7 Virtual Addictions Clinic

Updated: Aug 28, 2019

August 27, 2019





WESTON COMMUNITY CENTER – Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont, alongside Donovan Martin candidate for Notre Dame, announced today that a Manitoba Liberal Government would move immediately to create a 24/7 Virtual Addictions Coordination Centre so that families and people with addictions can get faster access to addictions treatment.


Modelled on a successful program in Alberta, the Virtual Opioid Dependency Program, a Manitoba Liberal Government would set up a province-wide 24/7 addictions hotline for individuals to call when they need to get into treatment. It will also include a website for individuals to log on and chat with a professional. The number and site allows for greater privacy and individuals would be able to self-refer for help without going through a physician.


“One of the most critical breakdowns in addictions treatment in Manitoba is that there are so many roadblocks and waiting lists,” said Lamont. “This will be a 24/7 service for every part of Manitoba, so that people can be referred as quickly as possible, and the goal is to get people off the street and into treatment faster.”  


Manitoba Liberals have already committed to adding drug stabilization units, medically supervised detox, expanding the number of addictions treatment beds, and ensuring there is a smooth, seamless transition from rehab to recovery.


The Virtual Addictions Coordination Centre would cost $2 - $3 million annually. 


When Manitoba faced these levels of health crisis in the past, the province initiated coordinated actions to combat the issues. Unfortunately, despite repeated warnings and calls to action, the Pallister Government denied there was even an issue at all. Now, Manitoba finds itself in a full-blown meth crisis with little to no access or services for affected Manitobans. 


“One of the most important things we can do to address this addictions and meth crisis is to get people off the street and safe,” said Donovan Martin, Manitoba Liberal MLA for Notre Dame. “We are going to make sure that every Manitoban has faster access to better addictions treatment.”

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Backgrounder


Since Brian Pallister was first elected, Manitoba has been repeatedly hit with one addictions crisis after another. Manitoba Liberals have repeatedly called for a comprehensive plan from the Pallister Government . 


In October of 2017, Liberal Health Critic Jon Gerrard questioned Premier Pallister about his plans for explosion in methamphetamine use and the governments complete inaction during their first year in office. Pallister skirted the question launching into a typical tirade about Ottawa. 

In October 2018, Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont and the Liberal caucus called on the Pallister Government to declare a public health emergency. Once again, the government ignored the problem. 


Manitoba Liberals have developed a holistic plan with a centrally coordinated addictions services across the province to ensure timely access for all Manitobans.


The Manitoba Liberal Party plan to address the meth crisis will establishment of a Virtual Addictions Coordination Centre to address the crisis and coordinate the response across the province which will include:


· Setting up a call line at 211 – so that those with meth addiction who need help, or individuals with family and/or friends with meth addiction who need help can have a single place to call for help.


· Placing psychological services under medicare and developing a phycological services training program to ensure accessibility of services across the province.


· Setting up a centre to help individuals with meth psychosis, to stabilize them and to start detoxification .


· Coordinate and provide funding support to organizations which can provide intensive residential care and support during a treatment and stabilization phase.


· Coordinate and provide funding support for organizations which provide residential care with supports for an extended follow up period of up to an additional 9 to 12 months.


· Provide for reporting on outcomes of treatment and an evaluation of the effectiveness of treatment programs provided.


· A major education and awareness effort for youth and for adults to create a much broader understanding of the dangers of taking methamphetamine – to reduce the level of methamphetamine use in Manitoba.  For youth this would include having information on meth addictions and its negative effects taught in schools.

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