Teed is an Internationally Certified Prevention Specialist and the writer and host of the Drug Class TV series. He worked as a counselor at the Regina Detox Centre and still practices addictions counseling privately.
“Accessibility is a little bit restricted. Generally, if I’m booking somebody into treatment, we’re looking at about a month before we can get them in,” Teed said. “If they’re living in a good environment and they’re extremely well motivated then that tends to not be a big problem, but if there’s home issues and stuff like that, the risk of relapse prior to getting into treatment is huge.”
Regina and Saskatoon have addictions specific agencies, and all health districts have addictions specialists working within the health region, Teed said.
This means it’s easy to make an appointment to see counselors if you realize you’re drinking too much – for example.
“You would go in and they would do what’s called an assessment of your alcohol use, in your case,” Teed said. “Depending on that, they might say it looks like you have an alcohol dependency and maybe you need to go into detox to get yourself dried out and then perhaps go to a treatment centre.”
Teed was careful to note at this point that there is a difference between addiction and abuse. If someone is abusing alcohol, the counselors might help look at how to manage alcohol use differently. They might suggest attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Despite the area of Saskatchewan, there will almost certainly be an AA meeting in your community or close by. A comprehensive list with locations, dates and times can be found at: www.aasask.org
If someone does have an addiction to alcohol or other substances, detox is the next step towards recovery.
Though Rand Teed has worked with teens for over 35 years, a huge number of his private addictions treatment referrals come from workplaces.
“Just myself, I probably get five (workplace referrals) a week,” Teed said. “Because I’m in private practice I tend to get people that have resources, either through work or their own funding.”
Teed noted that if employers see a problem, it’s brought to counselors through the workplace’s Employee and Family Assistance Program. This is becoming more common because more workplaces are doing drug testing.
“So (the counselors) will say to the employee, it looks like you’ve got a drug or alcohol problem, we want you to go and see this person who’s an addictions specialist. And so then they would go see a private counselor who would perform a similar function to the addictions services counselor except that much of that might go through the private sector instead of the public sector,” Teed said.
There are four regular detoxes in Saskatchewan, and a smaller one in Yorkton. Regina, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw and Lloydminster each have one detox centre.
These are the facilities available through the public sector. All services provided by Addiction Services is covered under a valid Saskatchewan health card.
Regina’s facility has 45 beds – 20 brief detoxification beds and 25 social detoxification beds. Thorpe Recovery Centre in Lloydminster has 72 beds, Saskatoon’s brief detox has 12 beds, and Moose Jaw’s Wakamow Manor offers 20 detoxification beds.
Detox can be as short as 3 or 4 days and as long as two weeks. Consideration is given to the medical condition of the person, and if the detox isn’t in high demand, people tend to be kept longer.
According to Kristin Wilkie, the hardest part about getting treatment is admitting that you need it.
“It can be a difficult to acknowledge a substance issue, as there are often stigma attached to it,” Wilkie wrote in an e-mail. “At Addiction Services, we work with people where they are at and provide and create an atmosphere that is non-judgmental and is conducive to sharing.”
Wilkie is a team leader at Regina’s Addiction Treatment Centre on Victoria Avenue. She noted that the road to overcoming an addiction starts with a willingness to engage in services. And it doesn’t happen overnight.
“Treatment varies from person to person. The length of treatment would be determined at the time of the screening appointment with the clinician,” Wilkie wrote.
The dedication to fighting addiction continues after detox, but long-term care and aftercare options are limited in Saskatchewan.
There are two types of programs available for people seeking addictions treatment services: inpatient and outpatient.
The decision on which program to enter is made based on a particular person’s needs and schedule.
If someone enters an outpatient treatment program, they attend the program during the day and go home at night.
Inpatient treatment centres are 28-day programs, with the exception of Hopeview Home in North Battleford. Hopeview is a three-month facility.
An inpatient program means that people live in the facility while receiving treatment.
Teed said that Hopeview – the only long-term treatment facility in the province – only has nine beds.
“It’s really difficult to get somebody into that,” Teed said. “My feeling is that we need more long-term options.”
The restricted space causes a month-long wait that Teed called “normal.” During this wait, Addictions Services tries to support that person, but sometimes that’s not enough.
“If we could get people in more quickly, I think it would be an advantage. Because it’s a long wait, some people just say why bother,” Teed said.
After completing a treatment program, patients enter an aftercare program.
“We have some residential aftercare programs in the province though I don’t think there’s nearly as many as we could have,” Teed said.
He described those programs “kind of like a halfway house model.” Teed said it’s important when someone’s finishing treatment to question the living environment that a recovering addict could go back to.
“If they’re living with three other alcoholics, if they just go back into that environment, their chances of success are severely compromised,” Teed said. “Part of the recovery process is significant lifestyle change.”