Government of Canada announces nearly $4 million to address harms related to substance use in the Atlantic region


April 2023

To help support the response to the overdose crisis and address harms related to substance use and the toxic illegal drug supply, the Government of Canada has announced nearly $4 million in funding for 9 innovative community-led projects across the Atlantic region.

Funding is provided through Health Canada's Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP), which supports evidence-informed and innovative initiatives across a range of interventions-prevention, harm reduction and treatment-involving a broad range of legal and illegal substances.

New Brunswick (total of $678,190)

Stimulant Treatment and Management Program (STAMP)
R.E.C.A.P. Health Services Inc. - Saint John, NB

$678,190 over 25 months to develop and implement a new harm reduction, treatment, and wraparound care service for 30 to 40 people in southern New Brunswick living with moderate to severe stimulants use disorder (primarily methamphetamine). Made up of different specialists, the multidisciplinary team will include a peer advocate, a case manager, a social worker, a registered nurse and physician (when required) as well as a program coordinator. Care plans will include services such as contingency management, participation in community programs, Opioid Agonist Therapy as well as employment training. The funding will also allow the organization to offer, for a period of more than 18 months, a personalized service that will target specific needs, provide the right treatment, and help facilitate positive life changes for individuals living with severe substance use disorder.

Theme: Alcohol, Cannabis & Stimulants
Funding envelope: B2022

Newfoundland and Labrador (total of $851,100)

Directed Education on Cannabis for Youth Decision Empowerment (DECYDE) - A Pilot Study
Memorial University of Newfoundland - St. John's, NL

$282,840 over 25 months to develop and implement a youth-driven cannabis education strategy to be imbedded in the grade 4-12 curriculum in Newfoundland and Labrador. The project will use harm reduction approach to cannabis education that will support youths' social-emotional competence and health literacy. This will provide youth with the decision-making skills that empower them to make safe and informed choices and reduce their health risks. Materials for teachers will also be developed including instructor guides and a resource website.

Theme: Youth and Cannabis
Funding envelope: B2022

Enhancing A Person-Centered Approach to Harm Reduction Though Peer Support
Eastern Regional Health Authority - Mount Pearl, NL

$192,572 over 24 months to add a peer support component to an existing Eastern Health mobile harm reduction team pilot in the greater metro area of St. John's, NL. This will enable the organization to provide services to vulnerable individuals who are precariously housed, and to homeless individuals accessing shelters or sleeping on the streets. By specifically adding 1 peer support worker full time, the organization will now be able to offer a permanent peer support component to its team. Working alongside the larger mobile harm reduction outreach team, peer support workers will have the role to build relationships, and provide support to peers experiencing unstable housing as a result of a substance use disorders and/or complex mental health issues.

Theme: Mobile Services
Funding envelope: B2022

Sharing the Path to Spiritual Wellness
First Light St. John's Friendship Centre Inc. - St. John's, NL

$375,688 over 24 months to develop a peer support model that engages the urban Indigenous population with lived and living experience of alcohol and substance use in the St. John's metro region. With this funding, the program will hire one full time staff person and two part time Indigenous peer support community members. Working alongside Elders to ensure traditional knowledge, staff members will receive peer support training, information on cultural awareness, mental health first aid, applied suicide intervention skills training, and training on harm reduction approaches. Engaging in seasonal land-based retreats, the program aims to build a sustainable peer-support model that will enable clients to have a safe and culturally-space throughout their healing journey.

Theme: Indigenous
Funding envelope: B2022

Nova Scotia (total of $2,325,779)

Building Bridges: A Partnership to Provide Services to Persons with Substance Use/Concurrent Disorders in Eastern Zone
Nova Scotia Health Authority - Halifax, NS

$293,400 over 12 months to enhance care, treatment, and overall health for individuals with substance use and/or concurrent disorders in Cape Breton, Guysborough, and Antigonish. The Nova Scotia Health Authority and the Ally Centre (a harm reduction organization) will collaborate to improve client access to services offered by both organizations. The project will aim to enhance integrated and coordinated evidence-informed mental health and substance use care for approximately 1,500 vulnerable individuals, many of whom are also experiencing homelessness and/or working in the sex trade.

Theme: mental health and harm reduction
Funding envelope: SUAP B2021

Enhancing Peer Support for People Living with Substance Use-Concurrent Disorders
Nova Scotia Health Authority - Kentville, NS

$170,500 over 14 months to enhance and improve access to peer support for people with a substance use-concurrent disorder dealing with withdrawal management symptoms. The funding will specifically enable the organization to add two new peer support workers in two Recovery Support Centres, that is Nova Scotia Health Authority's Mental Health and Addictions program (MHAP), and Peer Support Nova Scotia, both supporting individuals living with withdrawal management and recovery issues. Through the funding, the organization will enhance its peer support opportunities for clients accessing both mental health centers, gain a better understanding of peer support needs and benefits, and develop recommendations that will help the organization lean towards an effective and sustainable model of peer support within Mental Health and Addictions Program Recovery Support Centres. The funding will also help the organization deliver a training program, in collaboration with Peer Support Nova Scotia, to peer support workers to provide withdrawal management services to 500 adult outpatients.

Theme: Low Barrier Community
Funding envelope: B2021

Mental Health and Addictions Support and Care in Nova Scotia Health Emergency Departments Project 
Nova Scotia Health Authority - Halifax, NS

$290,500 over 14 months to enhance trauma and stigma-informed substance use and mental health training for emergency department staff across Nova Scotia by building on previous work between Nova Scotia Health Authority's Mental Health and Addiction Program and emergency departments. The Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) Mental Health and Addictions Program (MHAP), in collaboration with the NSHA Inter-Professional Practice and Learning (IPPL) and NSHA Emergency Department (ED), is developing and delivering education on substance use and concurrent disorders for ED staff across Nova Scotia. This project builds on the pilot that took place in 2018-2020, where 220 emergency staff participated in educational sessions on substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders.

Theme: Mental Health
Funding envelope: B2021

Opioids and Our Youth: Solutions for safe, effective, and equitable opioid use for pain in youth in Canada
Dalhousie University (Solutions for Kids in Pain) - Halifax, Nova Scotia

$613,062 over 15 months is being provided to SKIP's Opioids and Our Youth: Solutions for safe, effective, and equitable opioid use for pain in youth in Canada project. This project will provide additional resources to youth, parents, caregivers, healthcare professionals and decision-makers related to safe and effective use of opioids to help manage acute and chronic pain in children and adolescents (15-24 years of age). The project will specifically create a working group, develop knowledge products/resources, and support healthcare professional education related to prescribing and use of opioids for acute and chronic pain in youth. The funding will also enable the organisation to coordinate initiatives and support elements of the national 2020 Solutions for Kids in Pain Action Plan for safe, effective, equitable, and evidence-based prescribing and use of opioids for pain in youth.

Theme: Chronic Pain
Funding Envelope: B2021

Peer Outreach Support Services & Education (POSSE) Project
Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Society - Halifax, NS

$958,317 over 24 months to help respond to the needs of underserved, marginalized, diverse youth and young adults (ages 15-35) using or at risk of using substances, living in the rural and suburban communities of Nova Scotia. The program will use a 'Train-the-Trainer' model, by providing access to life skills training and recreational opportunities to youth. It will also deliver peer outreach training including first aid, mental health first aid, de-escalation training, applied suicide intervention skills training, healthy relationships, and Walking the Prevention Circle certified trainings.

Theme: Youth and Community-based
Funding envelope: B2022

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