Feb 22, 2013- 3:38 PM
The province is providing ongoing annual funding to support five new Community Wellness Development Teams and to increase the use of telemedicine equipment in First Nations treatment centres across Ontario.
Community Wellness Development Teams provide mental health and addictions expertise and support to First Nations communities seeking help in addressing prescription narcotic addiction by blending tradition and cultural practices. Using new telemedicine equipment will allow providers to conference with patients in remote communities to enhance addictions treatments.
Ontario is also providing $1.5 million in ongoing annual funding to support the work of the Mental Health and Addictions Working Group, which is part of the Trilateral First Nations Health Senior Officials Committee.
The Trilateral First Nations Health Senior Officials Committee was formed in partnership between the Ontario government, federal government and Chiefs of Ontario to identify and implement initiatives for priority areas of health for First Nations people living on reserve.
In October 2012, Ontario announced $15 million in new funding for addressing prescription-narcotics addictions, $2 million of which supports Aboriginal and First Nations initiatives.
Ontario funds about 150 agencies across the province offering substance abuse treatment services, including withdrawal management, community counselling, supportive housing and residential treatment and support.
“The complexity of narcotics abuse calls for all of us to work together — and we know that the best solutions are built by the community, for the community,” said Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. “That’s why we’re making a long-term commitment to support the efforts of the Trilateral First Nations Health Senior Officials Committee, who have made significant progress when it comes to addressing prescription narcotics abuse in a culturally appropriate way.”
“With the renewed commitment and financial backing from our government partners, we can keep providing sustained, reliable addictions services to First Nations communities, and continue developing innovative, responsive supports that reflect their unique needs,” said Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee.