A program designed to help people experiencing substance use issues in the Moncton area is the first of its kind in New Brunswick, but the “test site” could mean similar programs could be coming to other parts of the province in the future.

Located off Main Street in Moncton, the Intensive Day Treatment (IDT) program has had about 90 referrals in all, with 65 people going through the four-to-six week program in its first year.

On Monday, the Horizon Health Network and the provincial government offered a tour of the facility.

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“Usually when [people] start with us, it’s defining what their goals are and working on their substance use and recovery,” says Natalie Theriault-Stordy, IDT’s clinical coordinator.

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“And it’s finding those strengths, those skills, to be able to address the substance use issues.”

While one-on-one services are provided, it’s primarily offered in group sessions and people can take part in the service up to 20 hours per week.

“We don’t directly talk about what their substance use, but we talk about recovery, giving them hope, resiliency,” Theriault-Stordy says.

A relaxation room at IDT in Moncton.

Callum Smith / Global News

Asked how this differs from a rehab facility, she says it’s “in their community” — meaning people don’t have to leave to attend rehab — and they return to the program each day.

“Even [during] the ‘talking circles’ Mondays and Fridays… Fridays, we talk about what are the high-risk situations that you may come across during the weekend? And then on Monday, we talk about those things; what were the lessons learned, what are the successes?”

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“Being in their environment and working their recovery at the same time, that’s sort of the benefit,” she says.

Theriault-Stordy says after IDT, some people might be content with where they’re at, or, they might follow up with a clinician or other resources during the transitional period, occurring during weeks five and six of the program.

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Occupational therapist Shannon Willet says they offer many ‘therapy groups,’ including outdoor groups and cooking, which will be starting soon.

“A lot of clients lose touch with what their interests are,” she says. “They don’t prioritize leisure, they don’t prioritize social involvement. A lot of people become isolated, so through these activities, they get to participate a lot more with others.”

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Talking circles, which look similar to this, involve discussing what “high-risk situations” clients could encounter over the weekend. They return each Monday morning and recap what was learned.

Callum Smith / Global News

Advocates like Ensemble Moncton’s Debby Warren, that organization’s executive director, says the province still needs to do more, but calls this a great step.

“It’s a great addition to the supports and services available to the folks who use substances,” she says.

“The Province of New Brunswick has the second-highest injection drug-using population per capita in this country,” Warren says. “It’s not enough, but it’s more than what we had a year ago.”

Willet says Moncton is a “test site” or pilot project.

“My understanding is they’re planning to roll out in the other major cities in the province,” she says.

Click to play video: 'Vending machine with safe drug use supplies coming to Moncton'

Vending machine with safe drug use supplies coming to Moncton

Vending machine with safe drug use supplies coming to Moncton – Dec 11, 2020

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