Feb 22

Help Finding Public Drug and Alcohol Treatment in Alberta

This month, learn how to access public drug and alcohol treatment in Alberta in the next installment of  Provincial Snapshot. Each month Canada Drug Rehab is outlining the steps you must take to access public drug and alcohol treatment in each province. If you read the blog on Alberta’s current mental health and addiction strategies, you will know that mental health and addiction are being brought under the same umbrella. Until that happens, the services are still split so you must access mental health care and substance use support in two different channels. This blog will detail how to access both kinds of care. If you or someone you know requires urgent help, please call 911.

Drug and alcohol treatment in Alberta

If you or a loved on has a substance addiction or any substance use concerns, find your nearest Alberta Health Services funded addiction office. Every major city and most large towns have an addiction office, they are often found in a provincial building. Most have a sobriety requirement. This means you may need to be 12 – 72 hours sober before visiting the office. These offices offer screening for addiction and mental health issues and can refer you on to the appropriate services like detox, outpatient, or inpatient rehabilitation. The outpatient programs are often available here and counselors can facilitate referrals to residential programs. Detox is available in major cities like Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Grande Prairie, Fort MacMurray, Calgary, and Edmonton but many smaller towns do not have detox capabilities. Residential programs are usually 18-20 days long and despite being publicly funded be prepared to pay $40 a day for treatment.

Mental health treatment in Alberta

Alberta’s services are split, therefore the process for receiving substance use treatment is not the same as mental health care. If you or a loved one has mental health concerns you must first see your primary care provider. This can be a family doctor or walk in clinic. Describe your mental health symptoms to the physician so they can assess you for treatment. This physician can fill out and fax any referral documents to Access Mental Health (AMH). There is one AMH per health zone in Alberta. You can find which zone you are in here. AMH calls you and does an assessment over the phone so they can redirect you to the appropriate resources. They also help you understand and navigate the system and can facilitate referrals. Be aware, it can take a while from seeing your GP to when you start receiving treatment. If you need more help finding public drug and alcohol treatment in Alberta please email or call our specialist.


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