Calgary

60 new beds in Alberta for mental health, addiction treatment

The provincial government is opening 60 new mental health and addiction treatment beds in southern and central Alberta.

The provincial government is opening 60 new mental health and addiction treatment beds in southern and central Alberta.

The $23-million move is part of a provincial plan to improve the health of Albertans with drug, alcohol or mental problems, the health and justice ministers said Friday.

Alison Redford, Alberta's justice minister, said many vulnerable people with addictions or mental health problems that aren't addressed often have run-ins with police and the justice system.

She said it would be better to treat those issues before people are in conflict with the law, rather than doing it inside provincial jails or facilities.

To improve care, the province is transferring responsibility for treatment inside correctional facilities from the Solicitor General's Department to the health portfolio.

"The Solicitor General's Department, they are not a Health Department. They are a housing department for criminals, so we want to ensure that when Albertans are incarcerated and if they have an addiction or something that needs to be medically treated, they receive that medical treatment so they aren't repeat offenders for the same reason," said Health Minister Ron Liepert.

The new spaces are in five centres:

  • Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury, Ponoka: 25 beds for people with both a severe mental illness and a severe substance abuse issue.
  • Peter Lougheed Centre, Calgary: Six beds for patients with concurrent general medical and psychiatric illnesses.
  • Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre, Calgary: Nine beds to increase capacity from 20 to 29.
  • Poundmaker's Lodge, Edmonton: 10 beds, expanding the young adult program.
  • Enviros Association, Rocky Mountain House: 10 beds in the former youth correctional facility at Shunda Creek, opening in July.

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