Nurses rally for better addictions treatment

The Seven Oaks Nurses Union make big contribution to local foundation


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This article was published 03/07/2018 (1724 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.


Manitoba nurses from Seven Oaks General Hospital fundraised thousands of dollars for the Bruce Oake Memorial Foundation during the Manitoba Nurses Union’s annual general meeting.

Manitoba nurses from Seven Oaks General Hospital fundraised thousands of dollars for the Bruce Oake Memorial Foundation during the Manitoba Nurses Union’s annual general meeting.


Members of the MNU Seven Oaks Nurses Union Local 72 organized the fundraising drive. Funds poured in from nurses, worksites, and Locals from every region of the province and were totalled up from May 1 to 3 during the MNU 2018 Annual General Meeting in Winnipeg. On June 26, they presented a cheque of $33,685 to Anne and Scott Oake, founders of the Bruce Oake Memorial Foundation.

Recent statistics show that the number of opioid-related deaths in Manitoba have only gone up. The National Report on Apparent Opioid-related deaths indicated that the number rose from 70 deaths in 2016 to 86 in 2017. Glen Stobbe, president of the Seven Oaks Nurses Union, said many factors have made nurses’ jobs more difficult.

“Longer hospital stays, more difficult to discharge because of the situations that addictions bring upon, homelessness, people can’t be discharged (in a timely fashion) because there’s no place to send them, the effects of crystal meth and various drugs, emerging nurses see that daily. It’s not uncommon to see several patients a day that are in full blown withdrawal in our (emergency room),” he said.

Maria Jonker, secretary-treasurer of the SONU said patients are not getting the proper care that they need and it impacts other patients.

“Like a lot of other issues with medicine, it’s always the Band-Aid treatment. We talk about the addiction, and then we come out with these NARCAN packs that you can buy. How about treating the real cause of the addiction, how about taking care of the people as opposed to trying to figure out how to fix them later on?” Jonker added.

Cardene Campbell, who is also a member of SONU’s executive, said there’s not a day that nurses don’t have something come in who is addicted or has overdosed.

“Often that is multiple cases,” she continued. “Certainly what we’re seeing a lot now is (crystal) meth. Fentanyl seems to have faded away a little bit, but I think the prevalence of meth is just how easy it is to make and how easily accessible it is. It’s big, and it needs to be treated.

The BOMF was founded after Anne and Scott’s oldest son, Bruce, died of a heroin overdose in 2011 at the age of 25. Its goal is to build a non-profit recovery facility like Calgary’s Fresh Start Recovery Centre, a facility that sees addiction as an illness that is progressive and can lead to death if untreated. Their program is based on the 12-step program guiding principles and the Family Systems Therapy method. 

The Bruce Oake Recovery Facility will be a long-term addictions recovery program accessible even to those who can’t afford to pay. Fresh Start will administer their program at the future centre.

“Long-term can range for as long as it takes…Most people who are experts in the field of addiction recovery would say that long-term is the way to go now and that 21 days, 30 days, and 45 days aren’t really as effective as we’d like them to be,” Scott said. “The medical system is overburdened in so many areas.

“We see addictions as a disease, and the medical definition of it is that it’s a chronic brain disorder, then we should be able to take a different view of it. Why can’t we view it the same way that we view cancer?” he added. “If you get cancer you get treatment. If addiction is your disease, then why can’t you have access to treatment?”

“There’s a crying need for this, and as a nation, as a province and as a city, we have to do better.”

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