Northeast Team opens opiate treatment to all rostered patients

LITTLE CURRENT—The Northeastern Manitoulin Family Health Team (FHT) will now be offering methadone treatment services to any of the clinic’s patients in need of addiction help.

“The (FHT) board made a motion to allow (FHT clinic) patients from the Northeast Town, Whitefish River First Nation, Aundeck Omni Kaning and Sheguiandah First Nation to apply to attend Dr. (Bryan) Dressler’s clinic in Little Current (at the FHT site),” explained FHT Director Judy Miller. We are taking physician’s and clinician’s referrals with the FHT. Also, patients who wish to self refer can contact Dr. Dressler’s receptionist at the FHT, Allison (705-368-1488, ext. 240), on Tuesdays and Fridays.”

The FHT announced earlier this year it had begun offering addiction services on-site in Little Current, but only to clinic patients that were currently being treated by Dr. Dressler. Thanks to a partnership between the FHT and Dr. Dressler of the Larch Street Clinic in Sudbury, however, the board’s recent decision will mean that any FHT patient in need can now access addiction services through the clinic.

The partnership was born out of the closure of the downtown Little Current methadone clinic in 2013 which left 22 FHT patients, along with all over Manitoulin patients, travelling off-Island to access care.

“The board’s decision was really out of respect to the other two existing clinics,” said Ms. Miller, referring to the M’Chigeeng methadone program and the Wikwemikong Sunrise Clinic. “Our patients in Wikwemikong are being supported by the Sunrise Clinic and the M’Chigeeng program was also supporting some of our patients from Aundeck Omni Kaning. We believe that the programs should be delivered in our own communities and we are pleased that we are now able to offer another health program for our patients.”

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.

Last year, Wikwemikong partnered with Dr. Brian Sankey to form the Sunrise Clinic in the community for its band members.

The FHT program is being offered in conjunction with the clinic’s partners in social services, mental health care and pharmacy services.