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Task force formed to tackle opiate addiction

A community task force has been established to address the problems arising from the increasing amount of opiate addiction in Rainy River District and First Nations’ communities.

Representatives from dental offices, pharmacies, aboriginal agencies, counselling services, prevention programs, police services, and health care have come together to discuss the problem, and find both short-term and long-term solutions.

“It is a common problem for many people so rather than work in isolation, we decided to bring everyone to the table and work together,” said Lori Maki, vice-president of clinical services at Riverside Health Care Facilities, Inc.

Hospitals face their own unique challenges with opiate addiction, which includes a high volume of people using the emergency department to obtain prescription medication.

Riverside Community Counselling also is overwhelmed by the lack of treatment programs and facilities available to help address the problem.

The task force will be focusing its attention on four pillars, including law enforcement, prevention, education, and treatment.

“The categories are broad, but we will be identifying priorities and immediate action steps within each area,” Maki explained.

“We know that some groups are not yet represented at the table and we hope to identify the gaps as we build the model within this framework,” she added.

The task force will be issuing a four-part news series to explain what each pillar represents. It will include information aimed at assisting residents in taking an active role in the battle against opiate addiction.

If you have input or would like to become involved, contact Maki at 274-4823.

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