Citizen group proposing recovery centre for downtown Red Deer

By Josh Hall (Twitter: @Vancan19)
September 13, 2017 - 2:33pm Updated: September 13, 2017 - 5:43pm

Could downtown Red Deer become home to a new recovery centre for those battling drug addictions?

One group believes so and has aspirations to bring such a centre to fruition sometime next year.

Krista Black with Red Deer Recovery Day says the services currently available in our city are wonderful and appreciated, but there are gaps for people seeking help overcoming their addiction.

“If somebody came to you and said ‘I need help to get off drugs, help me,’ the first step would be to detox. Detox would say ‘all our beds are full, call us every morning and we'll try and get you in as soon as a bed is available,’” she describes.

“So you’re calling every morning for a week – and when an addict wants to quit using, there’s a very small window of opportunity to get them help before they change their mind or they just can’t take it without the drugs."

Black, who plans to serve as the centre’s program director, says once someone finally gets through detox, they could be waiting several more days or weeks to get into a treatment centre, which usually have long wait lists.

“We want to have a safe place where people can be in a drug-free environment, where they can get support and try and stay off drugs in the meantime,” she says.

“There’s not really anything available for maintaining your recovery [either]. It’s just ‘go off on your merry little way and have your life,’ but people need to maintain their recovery every single day. It’s not only the people that want to achieve and maintain recovery from addiction, but their family members as well, because they’re really struggling as well.”

Ideally, Black says fundraising would begin as soon as they gain official charity status and go well enough that they can open a facility by next summer.

“Downtown would be the best place because if we're going to refer them to another service, most of the services are downtown. We wouldn’t want to have to send them on a bus around town, or they might change their mind,” she goes on. “I would like to see us get a boarded-up house downtown and renovate it into something beautiful, useful and functional -- whatever facility we can get to begin with, we’ll have to move forward from there.”

Black envisions the centre operating on government grants and support from the community.

She also says she’s spoken to several prospective city councillors, staff within the City’s planning department and briefly with the mayor.

“It's very supported and we're encouraged in moving forward with it.”

Tara Lodewyk, Director of Planning Services with the City of Red Deer, says there needs to be clarity around exactly what will be going on at the centre and that the two sides will be talking.

This Saturday, the public is invited to a free movie showing at Carnival Cinemas of the documentary ‘The Anonymous People.’ It begins at 10 a.m. any donations going towards Red Deer Recovery Day.

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