The pilot project bringing addiction services to remote Manitoba communities

A new mobile medical team is set to bring addiction services to remote First Nation communities in Manitoba that may have difficulty accessing addictions resources.

This pilot project, run by Four Arrows Regional Health Authority, is called the Manitoba Mobile Addiction Team to Increase Community Capacity and Access (MMATICCA). The goal of the initiative is to create in-community services and build capacity for health-care providers to manage the treatment of substance-use disorders.

Dr. Erin Knight, project lead, said in an interview on Monday that this is a 15-month pilot project to test this mobile treatment model of care.

“The whole purpose of the project is really to see whether or not it is effective to give this more front-loaded, time-intensive team the opportunity to work with an individual community for several months in a row,” she said.

“And see whether or not that dedicated team can help develop local resources so people can have ongoing access to care at the conclusion of that project.”

Knight said they plan to pilot this project in St. Theresa Point, as well as one other community that they are still identifying.

The partners on this project include the Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine (RAAM) hub, the Manitoba Harm Reduction Network, Ongomiizwin Health Services, and Amdocs.

“Our core team includes an addictions nurse, a peer harm reduction worker, a counselor and an admin support person,” she said, noting they also have some funding for a part-time physician and pharmacist support.

Knight said a program like MMATICCA is needed as residents in rural and remote communities in Manitoba have difficulty accessing some treatment options for substance-use disorders.

She added this is an exciting project as it has the potential to provide service to communities that often don’t have access to existing specialized addiction resources.

“One of them in particular that is really limited in northern and remote Indigenous communities is treatment for opioid abuse disorder,” Knight said.

“Because of the fact that a lot of these communities don’t have pharmacies, they have really limited access to some of the major treatments for that.”

She explained that one goals of MMATICCA is structuring community visits in monthly intervals so they can provide a monthly injectable form of buprenorphine for those who need support for opioid-use disorder.

Knight noted the pilot project received funding from Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program.

– With files from CTV’s Maralee Caruso.


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