New partnership to help patients struggling with addictions

SAINT JOHN (GNB) – A funding partnership will result in $3.8 million going toward upgrades at three units used in the delivery of detoxification and rehabilitation programs at Ridgewood Addiction Services in Saint John.

The provincial government, Horizon Health Network and the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation are each contributing $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. “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.”

Research and best practices support the notion that a welcoming, safe space is necessary to help people succeed at overcoming substance use disorders and mental illness. Fitch said best practice also indicates that a private room is most appropriate for people in recovery programs, however many of the rooms within the detoxication and rehabilitation units have four beds.

On average, 50 clients per month are admitted to the withdrawal management unit for a variety of reasons, including alcohol addiction, opiate use disorders, intravenous drug use and gambling. Most of these people also have a mental health issue, such as trauma, depression or anxiety.

“Now, more than ever, the issues surrounding mental health and substance use are impacting the health and well-being of New Brunswickers,” said Jamie Gallagher, president and CEO of the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation. “That is why the foundation, through the generosity of donors, is refocusing its efforts on projects that improve mental health and addictions programs. Providing a safe, dignified and welcoming environment to patients seeking help is key to their success. Thanks to donor generosity, supporting this area of need will help patients with substance use disorders on their recovery journey.”

With additional funding from the Department of Health, Ridgewood has begun to enhance clinical service delivery within its rehabilitation unit, transitioning from a 28-day, addiction-focused, residential service to live-in, concurrent disorder treatment over 35 to 90 days, where core programming and individualized treatment planning is provided as needed. Renovations are being done to the three facilities in which these services are provided.

“This investment will improve Horizon’s ability to provide care and services for the patients and clients we serve at our Ridgewood campus,” said Jean Daigle, vice-president community of Horizon Health Network. “Our health-care team is looking forward to providing care in a modern setting where our patients and clients can feel safe and welcome, which are two key elements in supporting their recovery journeys. 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.

For more information contact:

Coreen Enos, communications, Department of Health,

Shannon Hunter, vice-president, Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation, 506-349-5116,