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Group effort to helping addicts

River Point Centre a collaborative effort

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River Point Centre, on Magnus Avenue in North Point Douglas, will soon begin treating people battling substance abuse.

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

River Point Centre, on Magnus Avenue in North Point Douglas, will soon begin treating people battling substance abuse. Photo Store

A new addictions centre -- billed as a one-stop shop for those seeking help with substance abuse -- was unveiled Tuesday and will start taking clients over the next few weeks.

The River Point Centre, on Magnus Avenue in North Point Douglas, will offer the services of three existing organizations -- Main Street Project, Addictions Foundation of Manitoba and the Behavioural Health Foundation -- at one location.

The three foundations will still keep their main facilities.

Though the organizations are independent, the work at the centre will be a collaborative effort, said Main Street Project executive director Lisa Goss.

"We meet every month. We talk about the staff we're training. How do we work together to provide services in a stand-alone agency away from our home site? There's a real collegial piece to this," Goss said.

A centralized intake system will direct those seeking treatment to the services they need, which range from non-medical detox to residential treatment and temporary housing.

The goal is to provide a continuum of services all housed under the same roof, said Sharon Blady, Manitoba's healthy living and seniors minister.

The building that houses the centre was once a nursing home. The $28-million project to give the building a massive facelift was first announced in November 2010, but work had already started three years before.

News the addiction centre would be built generated some backlash from the surrounding community. Blady said the government worked hard to change opinions and show the centre as an important part of the neighbourhood.

"(It was) literally people knocking on doors in this neighbourhood to talk to community members," she said.

The connection with the Point Douglas and North End neighbourhoods will be as important as the services the centre offers, said Patti Fitzmaurice, executive director of the Micah House, which partnered with the project.

Many of the people seeking treatment are from the those areas, she said.

"The people of this neighbourhood care about those who are lost. They care about those who are broken, and they welcome a place like River Point, which can help build people," Fitzmaurice said.

Goss said the Main Street Project will have 22 non-medical detox beds at the centre, a significant addition to the existing 25 in their main facility.

"That's huge. (There are) things that we can do now that we never had the ability to do before," she said.

oliver.sachgau@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 4, 2014 A5

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