A new physician-led addictions clinic in Charlottetown is helping hundreds of Islanders to get their lives back, says Health and Wellness Minister Doug Currie.
The Charlottetown clinic was opened in November 2014 by five physicians with specialized training in administering methadone and suboxone. Patients come to the clinic daily for their methadone which replaces their need for opioids and supports many to break their addiction. The clinic now serves 140 clients.
Minister Currie said the clinic is having a significant positive impact on patients and services. “For the first time in many years, there is no wait for inpatient addictions beds. Right now on an average day, only half of the 24 beds are full and patients are able to be admitted immediately,” he said. “These results are really encouraging as we continue our efforts to provide Islanders with more options to overcome their addictions and turn their lives around.”
The decreasing need for inpatient opioid addiction treatment means that more patients are able to be admitted for alcohol, gambling and other addictions.
“The early results at the clinic are truly amazing,” said Dr. Peter Hooley, one of the clinic physicians. “We are seeing patients turning their energies to other things, gradually. We have seen a number get back to work, and expect many more to do so in the coming months. I would think the indirect cost savings are in the hundreds of thousands, at least to this point, and there would be a significant decline in criminal activity,” he said.
The provincial government supports the clinic with funding of $300,000 per year.
Prince Edward Island has significantly increased its capacity to provide methadone treatment since 2013 when there were hundreds of people waiting for treatment. Today there are 232 clients being served at the Provincial Addictions Centre and 162 at the Summerside clinic where there is no wait list for treatment.
“This progress has come about largely through the leadership and commitment of several Island physicians who are to be commended for their excellent work in this important area,” Minister Currie said.
Methadone is an effective substitute for opioid drugs such as Oxycontin, Dilaudid and heroin. It eliminates or reduces cravings without causing a person to get high. Methadone helps people to stabilize their lives and reduces the harm related to drug use. With the help of methadone, many patients are eventually able to eliminate their dependence on all drugs.
Media Contact: Jean Doherty