Blood Tribe paramedics will now be able to give patients who have overdosed the option of going to the safe withdrawal management site to receive health assessment, interventions, and access to local resources and programs. Patients will then have the option of attending the Kainai Transition Society to support recovery and transition back into the community.
The Alberta government is providing $2.2 million over two years for start-up and operational costs for the new program.
“The Blood Tribe has developed a community-based solution to help ease the current overdose crisis. Our government is proud to provide funding for this new program. We will continue to work with the Blood Tribe to ensure they have the support they need to provide treatment and care for people affected by substance use.”
“Premier Notley, Minister Hoffman and the Alberta Cabinet have been sincerely appreciative and helpful in combating the opioid crisis that has plagued our people over the last few years. We thank them for their continued involvement and providing additional resources towards the medical treatment centre that our Health Board, Department and Council have initiated. Many other departments, tribal members and others have worked collaboratively towards ending this drug problem and we thank them for their courage and commitment. May our Creator help those of our people who are addicted to overcome their problems and seek the help that is being offered by trained people and especially our spiritual leaders.”
The safe withdrawal management site was proposed by the Blood Tribe community and includes:
- 24-hour clinical care;
- a six-bed safe withdrawal management program with medical support from paramedics and local physicians;
- treatment options to support recovery; and
- an option to move to the Kainai Transition Centre Society within 10 to 14 days to support recovery and transition back to the community.
Renovations to get the new site ready are underway, with a goal of opening in early 2019.
A protocol agreement between the Alberta government and Blackfoot Confederacy (including Piikani Nation, Siksika Nation and the Blood Tribe) establishes a formal process for government and the confederacy to collaborate on mutual areas of concern, including health and opioids. The collective response to the Blood Tribe’s opioid crisis is an example of the benefit of this partnership and shared sense of responsibility.