Advocates sound alarm after disabled man denied addictions treatment owing to “short staffing”

REGINA - Today, the Official Opposition and concerned families sounded the alarm after a government-funded addictions treatment centre was short-staffed nurses and turned a man away for having a disability. 

“Nearly every family in Saskatchewan has been affected by substance abuse or addiction in some way,” said Official Opposition Leader Carla Beck. “Saskatchewan people deserve a government that will make addictions treatment available when and where it's needed. After 17 years of Sask. Party mismanagement, it’s time for a change.”

Bonnie Godfrey, her friend Brenda Holmen and her advocate, Jenny Churchill from Moms Stop the Harm, visited the Legislature to voice their concerns about access to addictions treatment. 

Last October, Bonnie's husband, Peter, sought treatment for alcoholism at Wakamow Manor Social Detox Centre. However, when they arrived from Bulyea after being waitlisted for 3 weeks, Peter was turned away. 

According to the manager, the facility was “short staffed” with only one nurse and could not accommodate Peter’s needs. Bonnie had given prior notice that Peter has had vertigo since a stroke in 2017 and would benefit from a room on the main floor.

Bonnie attempted to file a complaint with the SHA Patient Advocate. The government denied her request on the grounds that this government-funded treatment centre is not under SHA oversight. 

The facility has a history of denying addictions treatment services to people in need. 

“It takes a lot of courage for someone struggling with addictions to get to a place where they are ready for treatment,” said Mental Health and Addictions Critic Vicki Mowat. “This situation is absolutely unacceptable and Minister McLeod needs to take some responsibility. He can’t only be the Mental Health Minister for good-news photo-ops.”


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