Statement on the national opioid conference by Gail Czukar, AMHO CEO
The conference highlighted many issues that are important to AMHO and our over 220 member organizations in Ontario who are on the front-lines of this crisis.
It is clear that we need to increase access to holistic, comprehensive treatment for people with an opioid addiction. We need to ensure people have a wide range of options to support their recovery – this includes access to medication assisted therapy, but also counselling, primary care, housing, case management and peer support and family support. And it’s important that this care be provided in an integrated setting.
While many of our members in Ontario do offer programs like these, many of them are also struggling. Most treatment programs and agencies have faced flat-lined base budgets over the past 5 to 10 years. They have implemented creative and innovative ways to respond to the crisis, but they struggle to meet the growing demand for service.
Canada’s health ministers are in the process of negotiating a new Health Accord. This presents a unique opportunity to invest in enhanced capacity and access to addiction treatment, as well as mental health care. Funding should be ear marked for each of these areas, to ensure that addiction treatment does not get left behind.
As we mark the end of National Addiction Awareness Week, I am heartened by the conversations we had today at the opioid conference. We have strong evidence about what works. It is not a question of knowledge, but resources and commitment to a comprehensive range of services along the full continuum. We still have a lot of work to do to ensure Canadians with addiction challenges access the care, treatment and respect they deserve.”
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To view the recorded webcast from the summit, click here.
If you would like more information about opioid use in your county or LHIN, ODPRN has put out an excellent report and resource, available here.
For more information, or to arrange an interview with Gail Czukar, please contact:
Jessica Behnke, Communications and Public Affairs Officer
Addictions and Mental Health Ontario
AMHO represents over 220 community addictions and mental health care providers across Ontario. Our members provide services and supports that help Ontarians across the province with their recovery, including counselling and case management, peer support and family support, employment services, residential treatment, withdrawal management, supportive housing and hospital based programs.