Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut May 16, 2012 - 1:48 pm

Start-up of CamBay’s addictions program pushed to September, GN says

Inuit treatment centres will coordinate the "culturally-specific" program

JANE GEORGE
Peter Ma, Nunavut's deputy minister of health, speaks to reporters May 16 during a briefing on mental health issues. (PHOTO BY DAVID MURPHY)
Peter Ma, Nunavut's deputy minister of health, speaks to reporters May 16 during a briefing on mental health issues. (PHOTO BY DAVID MURPHY)
Cambridge Bay's
Cambridge Bay's "mobile addictions treatment pilot" will take place in this former student hostel. (FILE PHOTO)

The start-up of the addictions treatment centre planned for Cambridge Bay has been postponed.

It’s been pushed back from June to “probably September at this point,” Peter Ma, Nunavut’s deputy minister of health and social services, told reporters in Iqaluit at a May 16 briefing on mental health issues in the territory.

The treatment program, which Ma called “a mobile addictions treatment pilot,” will take place in a former student hostel building in Cambridge Bay, which is located near the Government of Nunavut office building in the community.

“Everybody knows that we have a significant amount of addictions issues in the territory, so this is the one step forward to doing something about it in the territory,” Ma said.

This former student hostel, once earmarked as a potential boarding home for patients at the Kitikmeot health centre, was recently renovated. A one-time residential addictions program for women was offered there in 2005.

The new program will be coordinated by the Ottawa-based Mamiqsarvik healing centre and the Ilisaqsivik familiy resource centre in Clyde River so it’s “Inuit culturally-specific,” Ma said.

It’s called a “mobile addictions treatment pilot” because those giving the program will come from outside Cambridge Bay.

The delay in start-up in Cambridge Bay is due to the challenges of shrinking the centres’ 53-day treatment programs to 28 days.

While not providing details about the treatment clients would receive in Cambridge Bay, Ma said the Cambridge Bay program would also provide aftercare and family involvement to prevent graduates of the program from relapsing after their return home.

If the pilot works, “we’ll roll that out across the territory,” Ma said.

At the same time, the GN plans to hire a new executive director of mental health and addictions who will be based in Cambridge Bay.

Nunavut Finance Minister Keith Peterson’s Feb. 22 budget address first announced that the addictions program would move forward in the Kitikmeot community.

“We recognize that addictions are a significant problem, and will launch a pilot treatment program this spring,” said Peterson, who is also the MLA for Cambridge Bay.

“The program will include family counselling, education and follow-up, services that, although badly needed, are not available now. If the program succeeds, we will take it into more communities,” Peterson said.

“I am looking forward to the results. Drugs, alcohol and gambling are leading contributors to our social problems. They deny opportunities for Nunavummiut to lead healthy, rewarding lives. We need this addictions program to make a real difference.”

The last treatment centre to be located in Nunavut was the Inusiqsiuqvik treatment centre in Apex, which operated between 1991 and December 1998.

That centre fizzled because few clients used it, causing funding problems for the board that operated it.

The old Inusiqsiuqvik building now houses the Qimaavik women’s shelter.

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