Harm reduction advocate concerned about reduced services in Moncton – New Brunswick



Ensemble Moncton executive director Debby Warren said the ongoing temporary closure of Moncton’s 10-bed detox centre is negatively impacting the people her harm reduction organization serves.

She said it’s taking away an option from those wanting to make a difficult first step in addressing substance use disorder.

Horizon Health temporarily closed the centre in early July due to a critical shortage of registered nurses, at the time saying the centre would open in “late summer”.

There is no set date to reopen the facility.

In an emailed statement, Rachel Boehm, Executive Regional Director for Addictions and Mental Health at Horizon, said: “We are actively recruiting staff to fill the current Moncton Detox vacancies and plan to reopen the inpatient detox services at our Moncton location as quickly as possible.”

Ensemble Moncton operates the city’s only overdose prevention site.

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“We’re trying to keep people alive,” Warren said.

“It’s not acceptable to say ‘we don’t know when or where’…all services have been under-resourced and we need some real serious work happening,” she said.

In 2022, New Brunswick had its highest-ever recorded rate of substance-related deaths, according to a report from Public Health.

Those struggling with substance use might soon lose another resource.

The Salvus Clinic provides medical care and other services to those struggling with homelessness and mental health issues.

They need to find a new space in which to operate before the end of September, as they’ve outgrown their offices on Queen Street.

“The space was originally intended for five individuals to work out of. Over the years we’ve grown to a staff of 24 so the space is no longer appropriate,” Salvus Clinic executive director Melissa Baxter said in an interview.

They need to be out of their space by the end of September, as another organization in their building will be taking over their offices.

Baxter said they are in a “crunch” as the search for a new space is proving more difficult than they anticipated.

She said if they can’t find a space by October, they may have to temporarily reduce the services they offer.

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“We are unable to offer a full-service medical clinic without a functional space,” Baxter said.

“We do have the mobile health unit so we will take that on the road to other locations. Some of our staff offer home visits but we will not be able to offer the full array of services,” Baxter said.

Warren said while Ensemble does offer the services of a part-time nurse practitioner, some of the clientele they serve rely on the medical services offered at the Salvus Clinic.

“We still depend on what Salvus is able to do…it just deteriorates the health of those we serve and they’re already not in a healthy state.” Warren said.

Boehm said those wanting help with substance use disorder still have options in being sent to detox units elsewhere in the province, or receiving treatment on an outpatient basis.

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