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Addictions Crisis Team

Individuals experiencing crisis related to addiction will have improved access to community resources thanks to a new partnership between the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and the Medicine Hat Police Service (MHPS).

The Addictions Crisis Team (ACT) will focus on identifying high-risk individuals in an effort to connect them to treatment and services to address the underlying causes of their behavior, and will involve a police officer and a clinician working together to provide assertive case management to individuals.

For the past two years the MHPS has identified a concerning trend related to increased methamphetamine and heroin use in the community.  The volume of methamphetamine increased by 300% from 2015 to 2016, and with 2,220 grams seized year-to-date, 2017 is on track to exceed previous records.  This trend is quite concerning as both drugs are very powerful and highly addictive and often result in desperate behaviours from users in an attempt to support their addiction.

The goal of ACT will be to optimize the ability of the MHPS and CMHA to respond to individuals experiencing crisis behavior, who have accessed police services on a repeat basis, often with behaviours that pose a threat to public safety.  By working in partnership, the agencies will attempt to stabilize the individual’s addiction through streamlined access to community resources and reduce reliance on emergency services.

Partnerships such as this reflect an important shift in how the MHPS are responding to addiction and drug use in the community. “Cooperative partnerships are the cornerstone of the new approach to our current epidemic—an integrated approach that has its roots in the public health model, reflects principles of community policing, incorporates research and data into decision making, and emphasizes community-based solutions”, says MHPS Chief Andy McGrogan.

“Regardless of which agency they access, individuals will be connected to the services they need in a coordinated and seamless way, and will allow for multiple health concerns to be addressed at once” says CMHA Executive Director Cori Fischer, “This will also ensure that care continues throughout their transitions between services, all the way through to recovery.”

Funding for this initiative has been made available in part from the Medicine Hat Community Housing Society.

Media Availability:  Representatives from the MHPS and CMHA will be on hand to speak to the media about the goals of this new initiative at 10:00 AM on November 24, 2017 in the MHPS Community Boardroom, located at 884 2nd Street SE.

Media Contact:

Inspector Brent Secondiak
Support Services Division
Medicine Hat Police Services
Ph: 403-529-8416

Or

Cori Fischer
Executive Director
Canadian Mental Health Association
Ph: 403-504-1811