A new rapid access clinic for those struggling with addiction has opened in Abbotsford and will arm patients with naloxone, safe sharps disposal and medication.
The Fraser East Rapid Access to Addiction Care (RAAC) clinic will give people low-barrier access to addiction medicine and medication-assisted treatment. Clients will include those with addictions to alcohol, benzodiazepines, nicotine, stimulants (cocaine, crystal methamphetamine) and opioids.
It is the third such clinic in the Fraser East health region, with one in Chilliwack and one in Mission.
The announcement was made June 30 and the clinic was already open for clients with a sign outside the Simon Avenue Fraser Health office.
Sheila Malcolmson, B.C.’s minister of mental health and addictions, visited the site for a tour and met with Fraser Health staff as well as Abbotsford-Mission MLA Pam Alexis.
The clinic is staffed by doctors, nurses, clinical support workers, social workers and group therapists, and staff will also connect people with a care provider to ensure continuity in care.
It’s one of the gaps in access that are being closed as governments fight back against an ever-increasing toxic drug supply, Malcomsom told the News. She said 700 people have already been served at the two other RAAC clinics.
Everyone involved wants to get the word out that the RAAC is the best place to go when a user is ready to face their addiction.
Following an initial consultation, patients may be placed on medication or guided to appropriate services. After initial stabilization, patients are connected to care providers in the community for ongoing treatment, monitoring and support.
“It is critical that we work together with our partners to provide low-barrier access to addiction medicine and integrated care to people in our communities,” said Dr. Victoria Lee, president and CEO, Fraser Health. “By taking a holistic approach to care, our teams are able to tailor services to meet a person’s individual needs and ensure that ongoing supports are in place, helping to create a wraparound system of care that extends beyond addiction medicine.”
The clinic provides patients with harm-reduction supplies, including safe sharps disposal, as well as training and distribution of take-home naloxone. RAAC clinics accept referrals from community providers, doctors, nurses and social workers. People can also drop in without an appointment or referral. In most cases, people can start on medication immediately.
“When people make the courageous decision to reach out for help, they need access to quality addiction services, regardless of where they live in the province,” said Sheila Malcolmson, minister of mental health and addictions. “An RAAC clinic is an entry point to a diverse range of substance-use services. I’m grateful that with the opening of the new location in Abbotsford, more people in the surrounding communities will be able to access treatment options that fit their needs.”
And the front door is not the only way to access the RAAC. There is also a virtual component to it, and clients are able to see a health care professional via video calls in some cases. For more information, phone 604-851-3752.
The Fraser East RAAC Abbotsford clinic is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at 101-32463 Simon Ave.
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