Medical detox beds announced for Red Deer in March 2016 are finally coming to fruition.
Kath Hoffman with Safe Harbour Society says dollar figures can't be announced just yet because there is an official announcement coming from AHS in the weeks ahead.
However, it is known that there will be 20 medical detox beds, which are essentially enhanced social detox beds, according to Hoffman.
The services will be available by the end of 2017.
"This will be huge for us and for our community," Hoffman says. "Very quickly, different drugs have started to come out and the people we're serving started having many more medical needs. We are very excited that in the very near future, we're going to be able to provide medical support in-house at the harbour."
Medical detox means there will be at least one registered nurse on shift 24/7, in addition to a doctor, Hoffman adds.
"We anticipate that there could be more need for more beds. Safe Harbour is thinking a lot about that right now and how we can help serve this group of people much more efficiently and appropriately," she says.
Hoffman also points out the added benefits of freeing up hospital beds, currently the only place in Red Deer for those needing medical detox. She says a hospital bed also costs substantially more than a detox bed.
"This will help those addicts out there that are not receiving the appropriate healthcare, for physical health and mental health -- then, their families, and that's important," she notes. "If you have a son or a daughter who's addicted and you've been trying to help them as best you can, it is unimaginable stress. You drop them off at Safe Harbour at the detox centre and those parents for the first time will exhale."
Last week, the province announced $4.6 million for 2,000 new medical detox beds in Calgary and Edmonton.
Also coming up for Safe Harbour Society is the re-opening of the winter warming centre on November 1. Hoffman says they are accepting donations of socks and gloves, as well as other warm clothing, ahead of the winter months.
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