P.E.I. Chief Mental Health and Addictions Officer Dr. Rhonda Matters says she can't be sure a residential treatment facility will make her list of recommendations.
Matters is in the midst of a review of the province's mental health and addictions services. Matters told CBC News Tuesday so far access to treatment is the biggest concern being raised by Islanders. Matters has spoken with family members of people trying to kick drugs or booze along with community groups and government staff working in the field.
She said the biggest concern is wait times to get service, especially for children and teens.
At the same time, the province is close to concluding a deal that will see more young people sent to the Portage addictions facility in Sussex, N.B. Matters said that might fit the overall plan for the Island. "Even if we were to have our own residential treatment facility here, it's possible that we would still make use of other off Island treatment facilities where there are more specialized or different types of services."
"The idea of opening a facility here is still on the table. That hasn't been discounted" said Matters.
Matters pointed out more addictions care is about to be offered on the Island. "The ten-bed transition unit is opening at the end of the month and that certainly was designed to meet this sort of need, so that people get additional follow-up after the inpatient withdrawal."
Matters said she wants to look at all that's being offered on the Island currently, and in the near future to assess what needs will remain, "So it's really making sure before we jump ahead that we know exactly what gaps or areas we most need to address."
Matters hopes to deliver some recommendations to the province in the next few weeks.