$3.8M For Saint John Addictions Centre

New Brunswick is investing $3.8 million through a funding partnership that will go toward upgrades for three units at Ridgewood Addiction Services in Saint John, N.B.

The provincial government, Horizon Health Network and the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation each contribute $1.27 million.

“Feeling safe and supported in a welcoming environment is important for people on their journey to recovery,” said Health Minister Bruce Fitch in a news release.

“This partnership between the government, Horizon and the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation is an example of what can be accomplished when we work together.”

The province says having a welcoming, safe space is necessary to help people succeed at overcoming substance use disorders and mental illness.

Fitch said best practices also indicate a private room is most appropriate for people in recovery programs, but many of the rooms at Ridgewood have four beds.

Officials say around 50 clients are admitted to the withdrawal management unit monthly. They are taken in for reasons like alcohol addiction, opiate use disorders, intravenous drug use and gambling.

Most patients also have mental health issues, like trauma, depression or anxiety.

Jamie Gallagher, president and CEO of the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation, said issues around mental health and substance use impact the health and well-being of residents.

“That is why the foundation, through the generosity of donors, is refocusing its efforts on projects that improve mental health and addictions programs,” said Gallagher.

“Providing a safe, dignified and welcoming environment to patients seeking help is key to their success.”

Ridgewood has also begun to enhance clinical service delivery, moving from a 28-day, addiction-focused, residential service to live-in, concurrent disorder treatment over 35 to 90 days.

From there, core programming and individualized treatment planning are provided as needed. Renovations will also be done to the three buildings in which services are provided.

Jean Daigle, vice-president of community for Horizon Health Network, said the investments improve Horizon’s ability to provide care and services for the patients and clients served at Ridgewood.

“Our health-care team is looking forward to providing care in a modern setting where our patients and clients can feel safe and welcome,” he said.

“We would like to thank our health-care partners, the Government of New Brunswick and the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation for recognizing the need for this significant renovation and helping us to make it a reality.”

Access to addiction and mental health services is one of five action areas in the government’s health plan, Stabilizing Health Care: An Urgent Call to Action.