EDMONTON, AB – Albertans taken into police custody for any offence, who are suffering from opioid addiction, will now be able to get the treatment they need right in municipal jails.
This first-of-its-kind initiative in Canada is starting in Calgary and Edmonton as well as some rural RCMP detachments.
The Alberta government is spending $1.4 million to create a low-barrier harm reduction division within the AHS virtual opioid dependency program (VODP) which will offer rapid assessments and medication for those in police custody.
The VODP will also follow-up with those people upon their release to ensure they have on-going support.
All Albertans now have access to the newly-funded drug Sublocade, which lasts in a person’s system for 30 days providing stabilization, reduced craving and significantly enhanced protection against overdose. The provincial government says this has the potential to greatly reduce the rate of opioid-related fatalities after discharge from municipal jails.
Alberta RCMP Deputy Commissioner Curtis Zablocki agrees that “addiction needs to be treated as a healthcare issue”while police continue to hold people accountable for their actions.