Alberta doubles addiction treatment spaces commitment
Alberta’s government has funded more than 8,000 addiction treatment spaces annually, doubling the original commitment made in 2019 and firmly establishing Alberta as a national leader in treating addiction.
“Two years ago, our government made a commitment to fund 4,000 annual treatment spaces. Not only have we achieved our goal, we have more than doubled our commitment by funding over 8,000 annual treatment spaces. This means 8,000 Albertans will now have the opportunity to seek treatment and enter recovery every year without having to pay privately for life-saving services. Treatment works and recovery is possible. This is a key promise made, promise kept.”
Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta
“We have heard for years that the addiction care system is broken. When we came into office Albertans were having to decide between selling their car and remortgaging their home to access life-saving treatment and recovery services. This was completely unacceptable. Our government is doing the hard work of building an accessible system for the future. Recovery is possible, and the opportunity to pursue recovery is something every Albertan deserves.”
Mike Ellis, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions
Alberta’s government is supporting everyday Albertans by building a comprehensive recovery-oriented system of care. This system is built on the premise that recovery is possible for everyone, and that no Albertan should be left without access to life-saving treatment and recovery services.
In 2019, Alberta’s government committed to funding 4,000 annual treatment spaces. That commitment has been exceeded two years ahead of schdedule. Albertans now have access to over 8,000 new publicly funded annual treatment, detox and recovery spaces.
Publicly funded addiction treatment is completely free for any Albertan. This was made possible when Alberta’s government eliminated daily user fees for all Albertans accessing publicly funded addiction treatment. Historically, Albertans were charged $40 per day for publicly funded residential treatment, a financial barrier that prevented many people from seeking help.
Both residential treatment and residential recovery focus on helping individuals improve all aspects of life that support long-term recovery. This includes improving physical and mental health, family and community connections, employment skills, housing stability and more.
As part of Alberta’s plan to fix the broken system and build a comprehensive recovery-oriented system of care, operators will begin implementing the My Recovery Plan software in the new year. My Recovery Plan will help Albertans build their recovery capital and will support Alberta’s government in transitioning toward a recovery-oriented system of care that is based on personalized outcomes.
Recovery is about more than simply stopping drug use, it involves improving multiple aspects of a person’s health and well-being. Recovery capital is defined as the breadth and depth of internal and external resources that can be drawn upon to intitiate and sustain recovery from addiction.
My Recovery Plan will improve connections in the addiction care system by providing wait-list management, tracking treatment and recovery outcomes and allowing clients to own their data. Clients will be able to take their data with them from agency to agency so that they are not continually starting from zero as they move throughout the system.
My Recovery Plan will help Albertans build their recovery capital using a strengths based approach in eight domains of recovery capital:
- physical and mental health
- family, social supports and leisure activities
- safe housing and healthy environments
- peer-based support
- employment and resolution of legal issues
- vocational skills and educational development
- community integration and cultural support
- rediscovering meaning and purpose in life
Alberta’s Recovery Plan is helping Albertans access life-saving addiction and mental health-related prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery resources. A $140-million investment over four years is supporting the addition of new publicly funded treatment spaces; the elimination of daily user fees for publicly funded residential addiction treatment; a new patient matching tool, Recovery Access Alberta; and services to reduce harm, such as the Digital Overdose Prevention System (DORS), the introduction of a nasal naloxone pilot and the expansion of opioid agonist therapy.
- In 2019, the government committed to fund 4,000 new publicly funded addiction and mental health treatment spaces, including adding new spaces, funding existing private spaces, and upgrading existing detox spaces to medically supported detox.
- Since that time, Alberta’s government has funded more than 8,000 new publicly funded treatment spaces annually.
- The newly funded treatment spaces available to Albertans include up to:
- 2,184 spaces annually at Alpha House Society, Calgary (detox)
- 223 spaces annually at Calgary Dream Centre, Calgary
- 199 spaces annually at Recovery Acres Society, Calgary
- 195 spaces annually at Simon House Recovery Centre, Calgary
- 78 spaces annually at Alcove Addiction Recovery for Women, Calgary
- 43 spaces annually at Aventa Centre of Excellence for Women with Addictions, Calgary
- 68 spaces annually at Jellinek Society, Edmonton
- 31 spaces annually at Our House Addiction Recovery Centre, Edmonton
- 22 spaces annually at Salvation Army Edmonton, Edmonton
- 20 spaces annually at Recovery Acres Society Edmonton
- 6 spaces annually at McDougall House Association, Edmonton
- 65 spaces annually at McMan Youth, Family and Community Association – South Region, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat
- 48 spaces annually at Alpha House Society, Lethbridge
- 14 spaces annually at the Drumheller Society for Recovery’s Grace House, Drumheller
- 104 spaces annually at the Bonnyville Indian-Metis Rehab Centre, Bonnyville
- 98 spaces annually at Fresh Start Addictions Centre, Calgary
- 34 spaces annually at Simon House Recovery Centre, Calgary
- 52 spaces annually at Sunrise Healing Lodge Society, Calgary
- 1,820 spaces annually at The George Spady Centre Society, Edmonton (detox)
- 560 spaces annually at Poundmaker’s Lodge Treatment Centres, near Edmonton
- 44 spaces annually at Southern Alcare Manor, Lethbridge
- 1,251 spaces annually at Kainai Nation’s Bringing the Spirit Home Safe Withdrawal Management Site, Standoff (detox)
- 832 spaces annually at Foothills Centre, Fort McLeod (detox)
- 574 spaces annually at Thorpe Recovery Centre, near Lloydminster
- Medical detox offers a safe, supervised way to withdraw from substances using medication to mitigate negative symptoms for individuals who are physically dependent on substances.
- Residential treatment programs provide Albertans with intensive inpatient treatment provided by professionals.
- Residential recovery generally involves a longer inpatient program with less intensive clinical supports.
- Alberta’s government has also announced funding to construct a recovery community in Red Deer and two other recovery communities in southern Alberta. It is anticipated that once built, these three recovery communities will provide services to up to 800 Albertans each year.
- In November 2020, Alberta’s government eliminated user fees for all Albertans accessing publicly funded addiction treatment beds.
- The My Recovery Plan online platform is intended to help those living with addiction build their recovery capital, increasing their ability to enter and maintain recovery. It provides assessment tools, generates recovery goals, monitors progress and helps manage challenges.
- Phased implementation will begin in 2022.
- The Addiction Helpline, a 24-7 confidential toll-free service, at 1-866-332-2322, can provide support, information and referral to services. Albertans can also visit recoveryaccessalberta.ca to find treatment options.
- Treatment can also start right away by calling the Virtual Opioid Dependency Program (VODP) seven days per week at 1-844-383-7688.
“By providing better access to addiction treatment for all Albertans, more people are going to get the life-saving care they deserve. This expansion is only made possible by partnering with Alberta’s world-class civil society organizations.”
Jeremy Nixon, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Community and Social Services for Civil Society and MLA for Calgary-Klein
“The Alberta Addiction Service Providers represent detox, addiction treatment, harm reduction, peer supportive housing and recovery operators across Alberta. We are grateful for the support of Alberta’s government and their vision to build a comprehensive recovery-oriented system of care. Building this system will help more Albertans improve their lives and pursue recovery.”
Kim Turgeon, board chair, Alberta Addiction Service Providers Association
“Alpha House is pleased to be partnering with the Alberta government through our Detox Program to enhance the province’s recovery-oriented system of care. This funding is crucial to having an integrated response to address the complexity of drug use we see in our communities and to support greater medical intervention for Albertans struggling with addiction.”
Kathy Christiansen, executive director, Alpha House Society
“Fresh Start Recovery Centre has been able to support hundreds of Albertans on their path of recovery, who otherwise never would have been able to access treatment. The Alberta government continues paving the road to recovery, making recovery more available, more attainable and sustainable. Thanks to these funding announcements from Alberta’s government, more Albertans are on a solid path of recovery.”
Bruce Holstead, executive director, Fresh Start Recovery Centre
“Simon House Recovery Centre is pleased to partner with the Government of Alberta to provide treatment and recovery-oriented care to Albertans and their families. With the additional funding provided, we are able to assist hundreds of Albertans who are suffering from the effects of addiction who otherwise would not have received this care.”
John Rook, president & CEO, Simon House Recovery Centre
“The Calgary Dream Centre is grateful for the support of the government. Because of our additional funding, we will be able to support hundreds of men to enter recovery every year.”
Jim Moore, executive director, Calgary Dream Centre
“Recovery Acres Calgary Society has expanded, including a residential treatment centre for women. This life-changing support from the government will help hundreds of additional Albertans who are pursuing recovery.”
Stian Rorstad, executive director, Recovery Acres Calgary Society