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‘This is going to help people’: North Bay’s new addictions treatment centre set to open next summer

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The Northern Ontario Addiction Treatment Centre of Excellence coming to North Bay is a step closer to becoming a reality. It will be located in the old Farquhar Chrysler Dealership on Lakeshore Drive.

This planned facility will act as a treatment centre for people suffering from mental health and addictions. The centre will consist of 24 addictions treatment beds, nine withdrawal services beds and 20 supportive treatment beds.

"We keep putting initiatives in place but new drugs just keep coming in on the streets,” said Pat Cliche the chair for the Community Drug Strategy North Bay and Area.

“So yes, this is going to help those people that really want to be helped."

In February, the Ontario Government announced an investment of $6.84 million for 53 new addictions treatment beds to address the ongoing mental health and addictions crisis the city is facing.

"As part of my work, I’ve read a lot of studies that show that if you're going to support people, you need to support them where they live and when you don't they go looking for help elsewhere,” said Ontario’s Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Michael Tibollo.

The centre has suffered from a few delays. It was hoped it would be open a year and a half ago. Issues with the pandemic and supply chain slowed it down.

"The plans are finished. We have a lot of the materials here. Now it's all about starting in earnest with the renovations,” said George Burton, the president and CEO of Canadore College.

The challenge, once open, will be finding staff and getting them adequately trained. That's where Canadore College comes in. The school will manage the treatment centre and will work to train the staff.

"We hope to have our staff on board by the end of March. That'll give us a couple of months of team forming and look at the model of care," said Burton.

Tibollo said it was an easy decision to partner with the post-secondary institution..

"Because of its excellent programs in nursing and addictions treatments,” he stated. “These are going to be the leaders of the future."

The centre's first entourage of staff will be made up of a team of 14. The college will look at ways to incorporate some of its programs into the centre so students can get a hands-on experience at the site, working with patients.

"It's something that we have needed for a long time,” said Cliche.

The centre is slated to open in the summer of 2023.

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