Prevention and healing for members and families struggling with addictions
Due to the recent opioid crisis that has affected southern Alberta and the lives of our people here at home, there was an immediate response to address the increasing number of injuries and mortalities related to opioid use on Siksika Nation.
Siksika Nation Chief and Council requested an urgent response which initially included Siksika Health Services that would engage all on-reserve agencies. The Crisis Response plan focused on the initial necessity of the opioid crisis. To combat the rise in opioid overdoses, Siksika Chief and Council committed $500,000.
The plan allowed leadership, Siksika Health and other entities to understand what affect it had in Siksika and brainstorm programs and services that would be long-term and effective.
It was important to be able to provide services here on the Nation rather than sending our people off-reserve. The challenges of transportation and living arrangements would hinder the quality of services that people who struggle with addictions face.
Siksika Opioid Response Team
The Siksika Opioid Response Team works to support clients from the point of crisis
through to stabilization, treatment and development of a 5-year aftercare plan.
A Quick Response Team (QRT) consists of the Opioid Lead, Social Worker, Addiction Worker, Emergency Medical Response representative, and a RCMP representative. Foundational to this team are the principles of western, traditional, and blended healing practices.
The Siksika Opioid Response Team works closely with Siksika Crisis and Victim’s Services. The team’s first point of contact with individuals experiencing an overdose is within 48-72 hours after overdose occurs.
Once stabilized, clients are referred to appropriate supports and resources, and addictions treatment services. Siksika Health Services is building partnerships with treatment centres in Calgary, for example: Renfrew Recovery Centre and Aventa Centre of Excellence for Women with Addictions, for Siksika Nation members to detox and undergo inpatient addictions treatment.
Future plans are being developed for Siksika Nation to have a residential treatment centre and detox centre on-site.
Siksika Nation Support Centre
Due to the recent opioid crisis that has affected southern Alberta and the lives of our people here at home, the Siksika Nation Opioid Response Plan was established in order to provide the necessary care and prevention of overdoses and deaths that were caused by dangerous drugs.
The plan allowed leadership, Siksika Health and other entities to understand what affect the opioid crisis has had in Siksika and to develop programs and services that would be long-term and effective. It was important to enhance services here in the Nation rather than sending our people off-reserve.
The new Siksika Support Centre (former site of Siksika Medicine Lodge) will be an after-hours facility that offers supports and services to Siksika Nation members and families from a joint inter-agency team with service providers from Siksika Health Services, Siksika Family Services and Siksika Justice.
Created in the spirit of traditional Siksika values and inter-agency partnership, the Siksika Support
Centre will be an accessible community facility, where individuals and families feel welcomed and supported, and relationships between Siksika Departments and the community are strengthened.
The Siksika Support Centre will foster cooperation between Departments to improve information, emotional, social, and cultural supports for community members; to deliver extended-hour services; and to strengthen the connections between each other and with a Siksika traditional way of life.
Community Resource Centre
Siksika Health Services, Siksika Family Services and Siksika Justice understood that extended-hour access to positive spaces, support and services is greatly needed in Siksika Nation.
Initial planning of the Centre’s operation started with interagency meetings of service technicians from those Departments. Hours of operation will be 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily. Tea and coffee will be available to anyone who walks through the doors. Support Centre staff will help navigate members and connect them to services they require. The Centre will also host evening programs and facilitated groups. There will be access to computers and meeting spaces. Most important, elder/traditional mentors, youth workers, and service area navigators will be available to provide cultural, social and emotional support.
Outreach and Harm Reduction
Outreach and harm reduction services will be based at the Centre, but mobile in the community, building relationships and improving primary care for those struggling with addiction, homelessness, mental health, or other barriers to accessing services.
Siksika Nation is the second-largest reserve in Canada. Community paramedics and community support workers will travel together to reach those in need. They will also aim to support community members and connect them to services after a crisis, critical incident (like drug overdose) or after discharge from hospital. This outreach team will develop innovative ways to deliver mobile healthcare in the community for those who would otherwise receive no care or have to go to hospital.
The community paramedic, with the support of on-call physicians, will be able to deliver a broad range of diagnosis and treatment services, at night, right in the community. This would include treating cuts and scrapes and administering medications like suboxone, for the treatment of opioid addiction.
The community paramedic and community support worker team will also play an important role in harm reduction through education, providing naloxone kits, providing safe injection supplies, and testing for pregnancy and sexually transmitted or bloodborne infections.
Inter-agencies involved with the Siksika Support Centre
Siksika Health Services offers comprehensive, professional, clinical, community health, wellness, home care, and assisted living services.
Siksika Family Services utilizes Siksika culture, traditions, values, resources and partnerships to support and strengthen children, youth and families.
Siksika Justice serves and protects the Nation by providing justice, legal and public security services.