Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine Clinics Open in Brandon and Thompson

Photo: Google Maps

BRANDON—Two more Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine (RAAM) clinics have opened in Brandon and Thompson, offering front-line help for Manitobans in different regions of the province suffering from addictions, Justice Minister Cliff Cullen announced here today.

“RAAM clinics provide assessment, counselling, the prescribing of appropriate medication, and connections for patients to community treatment programs and primary care physicians,” said Cullen.  “The clinics are key elements in the provincial effort to help Manitobans seeking treatment for addictions or substance-related concerns including opioids, methamphetamine and alcohol.”

“We’ve already seen RAAM clinics in Winnipeg assess and connect a number of patients with addictions services in the short time they have been open,” said Greg Nesbitt, legislative assistant to the minister of health, seniors and active living.  “Opening these new locations in Brandon and Thompson will expand our abilities to get help in a timely manner for those seeking it.”

The 7th Street Access Centre will house the Brandon RAAM clinic, while the Thompson clinic will be located at the Addiction Foundation of Manitoba’s Eaglewood site.  The clinics are designed to help patients more easily navigate the health system, moving them between addiction medicine specialists, primary care providers and community supports.  The clinics are typically staffed by an addictions physician and a combination of clinicians, counsellors and outreach workers.

“RAAM clinics work closely with hospitals, emergency departments, crisis services and primary care centres to quickly assess patients, then provide the appropriate services and treatment,” said Ben Fry, executive director for the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (AFM).  “By reducing long waits and lineups, these clinics will have a positive effect for Manitobans seeking help for their addiction issues, such as opioids and methamphetamine.”

In addition to working with patients, RAAM clinical teams provide support to primary care providers including the mentoring, reassessment and referral of patients.  Clinical teams will collaborate with regulatory bodies to ensure appropriate education, tools and ongoing support are provided to health-care professionals.

“Prairie Mountain Health and AFM have been actively engaging stakeholders in a collaborative approach toward enhancing access to addictions and substance-related support and treatment services within our health region,” said Penny Gilson, CEO of Prairie Mountain Health.  “This collaboration and the many harm reduction strategies will help to achieve better integration of addiction care across the continuum – from hospital to primary care to longer-term treatment.”

Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living provided $1.237 million for the creation of the clinics.  The clinics were highlighted as a successful model during extensive public and stakeholder consultations through the development of the Virgo report.  Released in May, the report outlined a mental health and addictions strategy for Manitoba.  A plan for implementing other recommendations outlined in the report will be announced later this fall, the minister said.

Two RAAM clinics opened in Winnipeg in the past two months.  A RAAM clinic is slated to open in Selkirk later this year.