Sign up for our free weekday bulletin.

Hospital getting addiction withdrawal unit

Published on

Troy Shantz

Bluewater Health is receiving $445,000 to create an eight-bed addiction treatment unit in Sarnia.

The “residential-style” department is scheduled to open in January and will provide withdrawal management services for people with addictions, said Julia Oosterman, Bluewater’s chief of communications and public affairs.

“This particular one is a stop-gap to help us immediately,” she said. “While it’s not ideal … we also recognize we need to get something up and running right now.”

Oosterman said the demand for withdrawal treatment at the hospital has increased 300% since 2014.

“These eight beds are not going to fill the demand, and we know that,” she said. “While it is a good news story… we also recognize it’s not our perfect end-state.”

Last week’s announcement came as Bluewater Health continues to navigate a multi-phase process to establish a 24-bed facility offering a fully integrated drug treatment program.

The hospital recently received a $200,000 grant from the Ontario government to find a site and begin planning for the facility, which is estimated to cost $8.4-million.

“We’ve just moved to the stage where we select a location,” Oosterman said, noting a consultant has been hired and a site should be finalized by year’s end.

The new eight-bed department at the hospital is not intended to replace the off-site location, she added.

“This funding is an acknowledgment of our long-term strategy being solid.”

The financing was part of $1-million investment by the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network in regional supports for people impacted by opioid addiction and overdose.

“The opioid crisis is reaching into our communities and impacting people from all walks of life,” said LHIN CEO Ralph Ganter.

“Our investment is designed to make a difference on the front-line, where we are seeing the greatest opportunity for impact.”

More like this