M’Chigeeng responds quickly has new methadone treatment, counselling program in place

M’CHIGEENG—With the closure of the 19A Water Street (methadone) Clinic in Little Current last Friday, February 15, clients across the Island were left struggling to continue their treatment, many being forced to travel to Espanola or Sudbury, but M’Chigeeng First Nation saw the closure as an opportunity to revise the methadone treatment program, and have launched a new methadone program for its band members.

“We will be starting a new holistic approach to healing next Tuesday,” M’Chigeeng Health Centre health services department manger Roger Beaudin told The Expositor last Friday, “in conjunction with the M’Chigeeng Health Centre, the Central Manitoulin Family Health Team (FHT) and the Guardian pharmacy in Mindemoya.”

Mr. Beaudin explained that when looking at the methadone program, he and his team saw a gap in terms of program counseling, as well as no direct involvement from the clients’ family physicians.

“We wanted to fix these missing elements of the program and create a continuum of care,” added Mr. Beaudin. “We have been working closely with the Central Manitoulin FHT, the Manitoulin Health Centre, Dr. Bryan Dressler (formerly of the Water Street Clinic) and the Guardian pharmacy to develop a program for our band members undergoing methadone treatment.”

Mr. Beaudin stated that under the new plan, methadone patients will visit the M’Chigeeng Health Centre for their counselling, in addition to the health centre being the case managers of the patients, ensuring that all the steps of the program are being followed. The patients will then see Dr. Dressler for their treatment at the Central Manitoulin FHT and obtain their methadone from the Guardian pharmacy.

“When we found out about the clinic (in Little Current) closing, we, council, felt we had an obligation to support these community members,” explained M’Chigeeng Chief Joe Hare. “We decided that we would do what we could to develop a program and help these individuals with their treatment and recovery. We are very thankful for the FHT and the pharmacy in Mindemoya’s support and the great team that has assembled to help serve these people.”

Robin Burridge

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