One year ago, Manitoba Liberals pointed out that the Pallister government was doing nothing to address Manitoba’s meth crisis. We offered concrete suggestions for what was needed.
Here is what we called for:
Step 1: There is an urgent need for “Drug Stabilization Units” – spaces where people in meth withdrawal can be held safely. There is a need for about 40 spaces in Winnipeg. These involve a safe place and a private room with locks where people can be assessed, and a treatment plan developed. Patients would stay for 15-30 days. Police or Paramedics could take people straight there.
Step 2: There is a need for funding transitional housing with mental health supports in-house – a psychiatrist or psychologist, mental health workers and/or a psychiatric nurse who can monitor and administer medication for up to 4 months. Morberg House in St. Boniface is providing these services. However, additional capacity along the lines of what is delivered at Morberg House, is needed.
Step 3: People in recovery can move to their own housing with less intensive support for up to two years.
In addition, we need the province to provide adequate supports so that people seeking treatment can get the care they need when they need it. This can be as simple as funding a psychiatric nurse or nurse practitioner at sites like the Main Street Project.
There must also be investments in prevention, including public awareness programs to warn Manitobans about the dangers of meth use. While the focus has been on opioids and the dangers of fatal overdoses from fentanyl and carfentanil, the province is silent on the deadly serious problem of meth.
Just this week, the NDP decided to finally join the conversation, but their attempt to address the crisis fell flat.
Tom Brodbeck from the Winnipeg Sun agrees.
WINNIPEG SUN: NDP addictions piece not worth the paper it's written on
ADDICTIONS TREATMENT WAIT TIMES
New numbers show wait times for addictions are still going up, while the Pallister government is spending millions of dollars less than promised on addictions.
The Pallister PCs still aren’t taking the problem seriously.
New figures from the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (AFM) show that men in Winnipeg are having to wait 52 days – seven and a half weeks - for treatment. The wait list for women is four times as long - 206 days – nearly 30 weeks, or seven months.
The Manitoba Health Annual Report showed that the Pallister government effectively cut the AFM, RHA Community and Mental Health Services and Mental Health and Addictions by $18.2-million in 2016-2017, and $28.5-million in 2017/18.
supports and give them hope.
CHILD APPREHENSION RATES
The Pallister Government is still taking newborn babies into the care of Child and Family Services at the rate of a baby a day, just as the former NDP government did.
Manitoba has one of the highest rates of child apprehension anywhere in Canada. There are over 10,000 children in care in Manitoba - with over 85% being Indigenous. Addressing the issue of children in care is one of the most important moral issues facing the province. Of the 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), the top five are dedicated to reducing the number of children in care.
New freedom of information (FIPPA) data shows that over a thousand infants under a month old have been apprehended by Child and Family Services (CFS) since 2015/16.
Number of Children apprehended under 32 days old:
Judy Klassen, MLA for Kewatinook says that Manitobans and Canadians should know that the video of a baby being seized shows something that is literally a daily occurrence in Manitoba. What is disturbing, and frustrating, is that the current PC government has done nothing of substance to turn this around.
In May 2015, Liberal MLA for River Heights, Jon Gerrard revealed that the provincial government was apprehending a baby a day from Manitoba hospitals and called on the former NDP government to better support parents and families to keep kids out of CFS care.
This is one of the most important issues facing Manitoba, because for over a century, governments have been tearing Indigenous families apart instead of providing support. All Manitobans should understand this is something we can address and improve together, and it does not need to be this way.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: “Statistics obtained by the Manitoba Liberal Party through freedom-of-information law show more than 300 children under 32 days old were apprehended by CFS during every fiscal year since 2013-14.
The Tories formed government in 2016, after 17 years of NDP rule. The numbers of annual apprehensions remain similar.”
“What is disturbing and frustrating is that the current PC government has done nothing of substance to turn this around,” said Liberal MLA Judy Klassen (Kewatinook).”
HEALTH CARE DELAYS
Manitoba Liberals are questioning health care delays faced by 81-year-old George Myer, who spent 60 hours waiting in Seven Oaks Emergency after Christmas and has been waiting months for a biopsy and diagnosis for a spot on his lung first detected in September.
The Pallister government needs to explain how the health system failed Mr. Myer.
On September 13, 2018, Mr. Myer received a CT scan and MRI which showed a growth on the upper lobe of his right lung. After months of unexplained delays and cancelled appointments, Myer was brought to the Emergency Department by ambulance at around 8:00 P.M. on Christmas Day, extremely weak, and in a lot of pain.
Myer and his family feel like they have been caught in limbo for three and a half months.
CBC MANITOBA: Daughter says elderly father ignored, neglected after waiting months for cancer diagnosis
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Family fed up over senior's wait for biopsy, 60 hours in Seven Oaks ER
WINNIPEG SUN: ‘WRITING HIM OFF’: Months long wait for biopsy continues for senior, says family
CTV NEWS: Elderly man in need of biopsy spent 60 hours in ER waiting for hospital bed: daughter
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: CancerCare CEO 'very disheartened' over senior's wait for biopsy
INSPIRE COMMUNITY OUTREACH
I had a great meeting with Angela Taylor of Inspire Community Outreach and her team. They do such important work connecting families with children with challenges with programming and care.
I asked what the three biggest challenges she saw.
She said the first was kids under twelve with clear, serious problems that have never been diagnosed.
The second was people with a severe diagnosis ageing out of care, and having supports withdrawn.
The third is that there are inadequate services for children and families outside the City of Winnipeg.
Too many families are struggling and barely able to keep their heads above water while caring for kids. The provincial government needs to make mental health care for children and young people a major priority.