Youth detox moving from Paul Dojack to Regina General, says Sask. health

The Ministry of Health says the youth detox facility is moving from the Paul Dojack Youth Centre to the Regina General Hospital.

Unit moving because of demands for space, ministry says

Lorri Carlson works for the Saskatchewan Health Authority and says a new unit is being constructed at the Regina General Hospital. (CBC News)

The secure youth detox centre located at the Paul Dojack Youth Centre is closing and moving to a hospital, according to a spokesperson from Saskatchewan's Ministry of Health. 

In an email to CBC News, a spokesperson said the six-bed facility is being permanently relocated to the Regina General Hospital, with the same number of beds. 

Although located in the youth centre, those in the 24/7 detox centre are held involuntarily for between five to 15 days, but are not in corrections, explained Lorri Carlson, executive director of mental health and addictions services with the Saskatchewan Health Authority. 

She said the unit was established at the detention facility 11 years ago as the province passed The Youth, Drug and Detoxification Stabilization Act, and they had a short time to set up the space where youth could be held for mandatory detox. 

Dojack needed more space: Ministry

Carlson said the Ministry of Justice notified them they required more space at Dojack because of the volume of youth in custody, so it needed to move. 

"It is a health program and it will be moved into a health setting now with totally health employees and so we're thinking that that will improve the treatment for youth," Carlson said of detox program.

"Coming to visit, it's a hospital, it's a place where people are getting treatment. It'll be a lot more inviting for families and various visiting professionals for sure."

The Ministry of Health said the new unit at the Regina General will be renovated, and Carlson said it will be locked and located next to the adolescent psychiatric unit, which follows similar security protocols. 

11 new counsellors

Eleven new addictions councillors will be hired due to the move, according to the health ministry. 

Carlson said in Dojack, the unit is staffed by some health region workers and correctional workers. 

"I think it will improve the quality of programming, certainly we have always appreciated the work that the Dojack staff did with our youth and I think we had some of the staff that were working in our unit, certainly had a lot of experience with youth with addiction," she said. 

The unit at Dojack will be closed next Monday, and the new unit opened July 1st. 

In the interim, the ministry said two overflow beds will open at the Regina General, with any more young people being kept at different hospitals around the province. 

About the Author

Stephanie Taylor

Reporter, CBC Saskatchewan

Stephanie Taylor is a reporter based in Saskatchewan. Before joining CBC News in Regina, she covered municipal politics in her hometown of Winnipeg and in Halifax. Reach her at stephanie.taylor@cbc.ca