Red Deer’s RCMP officers will be able to offer addiction treatment through a partnership with Alberta’s Virtual Opioid Dependency Program (VODP). Anyone arrested in Red Deer will have the option of immediately consulting with an addition medicine physician.
“Helping people enter recovery from addiction and lead a more fulfilling, productive life helps us all. This partnership between our local RCMP and the Virtual Opioid Dependency Program will change countless lives in Red Deer by giving people the choice to choose a better life. Thank you to the provincial government for adding this support to the City of Red Deer,” said Ken Johnston, Mayor of Red Deer.
VODP is administered by Alberta Healt Services and available throughout the province. People dependent on opioids are treated with opioid agonist treatment (OAT) drugs and provided with ongoing support and monitoring through telehealth and videoconferencing.
“Alberta is once again leading the nation with this innovative program to get more people connected with life-saving addiction treatment. People who commit a crime must be held accountable for their actions, but we can also treat addiction as a health-care issue while keeping our communities safe. Every Albertan deserves the opportunity to pursue recovery no matter who they are or where they interact with the system," said Mike Ellis, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.
The program was previously operating in Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge and other rural RCMP locations. Between January and June, those centres saw more than 400 people referred to VODP for an addiction medicine consultation. Most of these individuals were able to start evidence-based treatment medications prior to their release from custody.
The VODP offers same-day access to opioid treatment to anyone in the province not just to those in custody. Other Albertans seeking treatment can 1-844-383-7688 for opioid addition treatment.