Harm reduction van, addictions clinic now operating in Saskatoon

The Saskatchewan Health Authority is partnering with the Battle River Treaty 6 Health Centre on the new rapid access to addictions medicine clinic.

The Star Phoenix 2 minute read 2 days ago

North Battleford is now home to a new mobile harm reduction van and rapid access to addictions medicine clinic.

The RAAM clinic had its grand opening Thursday as the province announced a harm reduction van would begin operating in the community.

Operated by two health care workers, the van transports safer supplies to the community, “to save lives and help reduce the spread of sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections,” a media release said.

It can also provide basic health care like wound and infection treatment and HIV testing. The vans are already operating in Saskatoon, Regina and Yorkton.

Mental Health and Addictions Minister Everett Hindley said the vans are about “meeting people where they are at.”

“These mobile vans provide an opportunity to build trust with community members and will bring lifesaving services to individuals while also engaging with them on pathways toward long-term treatment and recovery,” Hindley said.

The van will generally operate three days a week, including evenings and weekends, providing support during hours when public health locations are closed. But dates and times will vary depending on staff rotation schedules.

The provincial government says planning is underway to introduce another van in Prince Albert this year, as well as three new community wellness buses that will travel to communities across the province starting next spring.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority is partnering with the Battle River Treaty 6 Health Centre (BRT6HC) on the new RAAM clinic.

The clinic’s multidisciplinary care team of physicians, nurses, and addiction counsellors will provide quick access to specialized addictions treatment services. The clinic can also connect people with services like ongoing addiction treatment, mental health care and community programs.

“This addictions medicine clinic has been designed to remove barriers to care in providing rapid access to a team of physicians, case managers and nurses who specialize in this important and evolving discipline,” SHA Director of Primary Health North Battleford Johann Engelke said. “This will greatly enhance care for an underserved population of Saskatchewan residents.”

RAAM clinics are also present in Prince Albert and Saskatoon. Prince Albert’s was the first to open, in 2019.