KAWARTHA LAKES-Ross Memorial Hospital in Lindsay, in partnership with Canadian Mental Health Association for Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge, is looking to bring ten withdrawal management beds to the City of Kawartha Lakes.
“Ross Memorial Hospital has responded to a proposal call from Ontario Health for residential addictions treatment beds. We put forth the proposal because there are no residential addictions treatment beds in Kawartha Lakes, Peterborough, Peterborough County or Haliburton County.” Ryan Young, Communications RMH told Kawartha 411 News. “People in our area have generally had to access services in Durham, Kingston, or elsewhere in the province.”
RMH’s 10-bed proposal is in partnership with CMHA HKPR. Young says the hospital would staff the service the facility and CMHA HKPR would operate the physical location.
Drug overdoses and addictions have been on the rise in the City.
“The numbers are trending much higher this year and that is obviously a concern.” Sgt Deb Hagarty, Kawartha lakes Police Service told Kawartha 411 News in January. “While these increased incidents do create a burden on our service delivery our officers will continue to respond whenever and wherever required.”
The Coronavirus pandemic has added to the problem.
“In general, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Health Unit is seeing a worrying increase in opioid overdose-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths in our region (Haliburton County, as well as Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes). This is not unique to our area, as similar trends are being seen across Ontario and Canada over the course of the pandemic,” says Chandra Tremblay, Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit.
Preliminary data from PHO for opioid-related deaths in the Health Unit region shows nearly double the rate of deaths in the first year of the pandemic, versus the previous 12 months.
From April 2019 to March 2020 (start of COVID-19 pandemic), PHO reports 21 deaths (or 11.3 per 100,000 residents) for the HKPR region.
From April 2020 to March 21, the number of opioid-related deaths in this region was 41 deaths (or 21.8 per 100,000 residents).
Hospitalizations and Emergency Department visits are also on the rise.
Emergency services currently take a four-pillar approach in response to the rising opioid crisis. They are Prevention, Harm Reduction, Enforcement and Treatment – used to form a balanced and solid foundation in harm reduction strategies.
“We work closely with FourCAST http://www.fourcast.ca/ – a community agency that offers counselling, support and harm reduction programs to those struggling with addiction. Each week our Community Response Officer, accompanied by a FourCAST Addiction Counsellor, follow up with people who have experienced a drug overdose or a crisis situation where drugs or alcohol are involved. As well as offering resources to the victim, resources are offered to family/friends. Our hope is that this intervention will play a role in reducing crime and victimization in our community, but more importantly, our hope is that it will save lives.” Hagarty explains.
There is no timeline is for Ontario Health to respond to proposals, but OH has stipulated that the service must be up and running by end of the fiscal year (March 2022).