Residential detox centre awaiting go-ahead from province

Bluewater Health. Troy Shantz file photo

Troy Shantz

Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey says he will do everything in his power to ensure a detox centre opens in Sarnia.

“I’m pushing at my end to get the project approved and get to the next step,” said Bailey. “We made a commitment during the election to fund mental health.”

Some residents have begun wondering what’s happened to the 24-bed Integrated Withdrawal Management facility earmarked for the city.

“I’m pretty sure we’ll have a positive outcome,” Bailey said, adding he recently submitted a local petition to the Health Ministry supporting the $8.2-million facility.

Led by Bluewater Health and supported by the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), the project must clear two planning phases before shovels hit the ground.

The first half of phase two was submitted prior to the provincial election in June. It contained details on partners, funding and treatment models.

A site can’t be confirmed until that’s approved.

The hospital’s VP of mental health and addiction says three sites were pre-selected but won’t be announced until they get the provincial go-ahead.

“We feel like there’s a lot of momentum in our community, and support, and a difficult one to not get behind right now,” said Paula Reaume-Zimmer.

Meanwhile, a seven-bed residential facility at Bluewater Health is providing help to those struggling with addiction.

Shortly after it opened in January the emergency department reported a 10% drop in substance abuse admissions, Reaume-Zimmer said.

And so far, 90% of discharged patients have reported satisfaction or gone on to further treatment.

The average stay is three or four days, she added.

“It’s been a great learning opportunity on a small scale. But at the same time, it’s not the full model and so we’re missing the entire experience it’s meant to (be).”