The closure of the detox centre in Moncton comes as New Brunswick records its deadliest overdose year to date.
Horizon Health has stopped in-patient addiction services at the centre on Mapleton Road because of a lack of nursing staff. The 10-bed centre treated an average of seven to 10 clients at any given time.
Debby Warren, the executive director of the non-profit group Ensemble Moncton, said this couldn’t have come at a worse time. The city and province are in the midst of an addiction crisis.
“Every four days we lose a New Brunswickers to substance use. And they’re becoming younger,” she said.
Ensemble runs a safe-injection site. Warren said they’ve not had any deaths in the injection site this year, but there were four overdoses outside the facility just last week.
“One of the four was actually brought to us by a cab driver,” she said. “Because by the time he would have tried to manoeuvre through traffic to the hospital … she wouldn’t have survived.”
A report released by Public Health in New brunswick says the rate of all substance-related deaths in 2022 is the highest ever recorded. The rate of opioid-related accidental deaths is also the highest to date.
Half of the drug-related deaths involved opioids, the rest to other drugs including benzodiazepines and stimulants.
In 2021, 73 people died of an overdose.
Of the people who died of opioid overdose, 50 per cent had illicit sources, and 23 per cent had prescribed opioids.
Affects people of all backgrounds
Warren said the public health crisis is affecting people of all backgrounds, from people without homes to those living in the affluent suburbs.
In May, fire chiefs in Saint John and Moncton said their departments are dealing with a spike in opioid overdose medical calls and asked the province to help with the rising costs.
Moncton fire Chief Conrad Landry previously said he’s seen about a 40 per cent jump in overdose calls over the past three years, adding up to four or five overdose calls per day.
“We used to spend maybe $1,000 of Narcan every year. Last year, the number was a little over $20,000,” he said.
In-patient facilities allow people to detox safely while also going through daily counseling and therapy.
Horizon said patients will be re-directed to other in-patient clinics in Fredericton, Saint John or Miramichi while the facility is closed.
The closure is expected to be in effect for the summer but Horizon said it will be assessed regularly.
This content was originally published here.