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Word expected soon on withdrawal management facility

Published on

Cathy Dobson

A site selection committee has decided where a residential withdrawal management facility should be located in Sarnia.

But it won’t be made public until approval arrives from the Ministry of Health, says Julia Oosterman, spokesperson for Bluewater Health.

An announcement was expected by the end of March but the ministry hasn’t responded yet, she said.

The hospital worked with families and patients impacted by addiction, as well as mental health agencies, to form a selection committee and consider submissions to an RFP (Request For Proposals) that closed in early March.

“We evaluated five sites and selected the one we prefer,” said Oosterman. “We understand that we’ll be told imminently if it’s been approved.”

Opioid and other addictions are of critical concern in Sarnia-Lambton. A recent study found Sarnia, Windsor and Chatham have the highest use of prescription opioids in Ontario.

A seven-bed withdrawal management unit opened at Bluewater Health in January. However, the community is still anxious to get a 24-bed residential facility offering patients a chance at full recovery in their own community.

The GFive group redeveloping the former Sarnia General Hospital site has said it would like to incorporate a withdrawal management facility into its plans.

However, the other sites that were under consideration have not been named.

If the ministry approves the committee’s preferred location, public input will be sought, said Oosterman.

“We’ll make sure the community is aware of and involved in the process.”

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