Northeast Family Health Team adds clinical opiates treatment

Patient list presently limited

LITTLE CURRENT—The Northeastern Manitoulin Family Health Team (FHT) has begun treating the clinic’s methadone patients on-site in Little Current thanks to a partnership between the FHT and Doctor Bryan Dressler of the Larch Street Clinic in Sudbury.

“Addiction services are being offered by Dr. Dressler through the FHT for patients in our area.,” explained FHT Director Judy Miller. “When the clinic in downtown Little Current closed (in 2013) and the Sunrise Clinic in Wikwemikong opened (in 2014) there were 22 patients from the Northeast Town who were travelling off-Island to access care. A space has been provided at the FHT for Dr. Dressler and his staff to provide care for these patients. We are currently offering a local site for our patients who were travelling off-Island to receive this treatment. This is being offered in conjunction with our partners in the social services, mental health care and pharmacy services.”

With the closure of the Water Street (methadone) clinic in Little Current in February 2013, all Island patients were left travelling to Sudbury to receive methadone treatment. M’Chigeeng First Nation developed a program to fill in the service gap for their band members shortly after the Little Current clinic’s closure through a partnership between the M’Chigeeng Health Centre, Dr. Dressler, the Manitoulin Central Family Health Team and the Guardian Pharmacy in Mindemoya.

Patients from the rest of Manitoulin were left travelling, some daily, to Dr. Dressler’s Larch Street Clinic in Sudbury. Last year, Wikwemikong partnered with Dr. Brian Sankey to form the Sunrise Clinic in the community for band members.

Despite the two new programs, 22 patients of the Northeastern Manitoulin FHT from Sheguiandah, Little Current, Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation and Whitefish River First Nation were left still travelling to Sudbury to receive treatment, in addition to others from communities across the Island.

“As I said, right now we are only offering a local site for our patients, but we will be looking at the possibility of opening up the program to additional patients (from other Island communities) and/or new patients at our (Northeastern Manitoulin FHT) board meeting on Monday, April 17,” Ms. Miller told The Expositor. “We will be looking at how the program and process has been working for the existing 22 patients and if and how we might open the doors to additional patients.”