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Registration open for virtual addiction treatment sessions

PHOTO. Welcome sign at the south end of Fort McMurray. Melanie Walsh/MYMCMURRAY

Residents struggling with addiction may register for the Fort McMurray Recovery Centre’s Virtual Addiction Treatment Day Program.

Alberta Health Services said due to its online platform, it’s open to all Albertans.

Jason Luan, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions says recovery may be more difficult in northern Alberta with the COVID-19 restrictions, flooding, and the economic downturn.

“Albertans need timely access to addiction treatment and recovery supports now more than ever. This virtual addiction program will help more Albertans get well and find their path to long-term recovery.”

Luan said the province plans to expand access to services throughout Alberta.

Individuals 18 years of age or older suffering from alcohol or drug abuse, and gambling addiction, may participate in the two-week sessions.

The program, which uses Zoom videoconferencing, combines workshops with group counselling sessions.

Thomas Kannumkulabil, manager for Addiction and Mental Health Services, said it’s the online version of its day treatment program.

“We will go through a variety of life skills, such as stress management and relapse prevention, as well as provide information on community resources, and create treatment and recovery plans for the participants.”

Kannumkulabil and other organizers hope for groups of eight to 12 registrants for each two-week session.

Registrants must abstain from alcohol or drugs, or gambling, and attend all the sessions.

They also must have access to a computer or smartphone with an Internet connection.

“This is an excellent alternative to our residential addiction treatment program and an innovative way for AHS to continue to provide service to those in need as we deal with the challenges of COVID-19 and the restrictions around physical distancing.” Said Edith Zuidhof-Knoop, Addiction and Mental Health Director for AHS North Zone East.

Sessions run on weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 3:40 p.m.

For more information, contact the Fort McMurray Recovery Centre at (780) 793-8300.