What’s going on?
Mosli has a theory as to why Red Deer is feeling the brunt of the drug poisoning crisis.
“Whenever you look at figures, the first thing that arises is how representative they are. The ministry’s figures are very reliable, “he believes. “Over the past three to six months, there have been sightings of organizations testing substances used on the streets, and what they are seeing are new substances that are more potent than what we have seen before.”
A few years ago, he notes, the emerging substance was carfentanil, which is said to be 100 times more potent than fentanyl.
“We’re seeing more scary stuff that’s not only more potent, but a different class of chemicals, which unfortunately aren’t easily reversed by naloxone, and I think that’s the main reason why we’re seeing no more deaths here.”
Recently, he explains, several doses of naloxone are needed, when one would normally suffice.
A multitude of services
Care Gateway now offers people with addictions a wider variety of wraparound services than any previous version of the clinic.
This means that the three owner doctors will be on site and in a second location in Wetaskiwin, but in Red Deer there will be several other doctors in attendance, specializing in women’s health, youth mental health, learning disabilities, Smoking Cessation, Behavioral Therapy, Hepatitis C Management, HIV Preparedness and, of course, Addiction and Mental Health Counseling, among others.
“When someone comes in and needs help with their addiction issues, we treat them like a human being. We make sure they have the best chance of recovery and maintaining their well-being” , says Mosli.
“We also work with community partners. So when we can’t help, for example if someone needs a health number, drug insurance, income support, or even a prosthesis to be able to function, we know where to send them and can help them navigate the system. . It’s more than just giving medicine and hoping they get better.
Dr. Nesrin Yakout, co-owner with Mosli and Dr. Lucas Gursky, says the whole community needs to remember that addiction is a disease.
“We stand up for patients and their quality of life; we want to keep them here, with dignity and support. Mental health issues, trauma, which lead to depression, is a disease, but it’s curable,” says Yakout, a primary care physician for more than 30 years. “We support with advice, medication, care and community understanding. It’s not right to keep rushing people out the door, or insulting them or judging them by saying things like, “You did this to yourself” and “You don’t deserve to be treated or take my time”.
An alliance focused on preventing deaths
This is part of a larger plan to create an alliance of organizations in Red Deer who see the benefits of working together and advocating for the four pillars: harm reduction, treatment, enforcement and prevention.
Mosli says if a patient can get from point A to point B, then all four pillars work in harmony and are all achievable.
“If you can do prevention, you’ve come a long way toward solving the problem. Prevention involves education, for drug addicts and those around them. Addiction is a disease, not a moral failing,” he says. “Everyone actively asks for help or passively hopes someone will help them. Anyone struggling with this disease hates it, so if we are able to open doors, lower barriers and provide caring for people before they overdose will be our greatest achievement.
Mosli says community partners such as 49 Street Clinic, Primary Care Network, Safe Harbour, Red Deer Dream Center, AHS, City of Red Deer and Turning Point have a collective and essential role to play.
“We work closely with many other service providers, such as the Virtual Opioid Addiction Program, and this is just another great resource to add to Red Deer,” said Stacey Carmichael, Executive Director of Turning Point. “We have to keep evolving and adapting, and meeting the needs of the community, because that community clearly won’t meet our needs, and that’s where we’ll see some really positive changes.”
Since the change in ownership, the number of people walking through Gateways’ door has increased dramatically, to as many as 35 on Fridays, which Mosli says is due to the clinic now being doctor-owned.
Turmoil with the clinic’s former owner
As first reported by rdnewsNOW sister newsroom, CHAT News Todayon June 9, the doors to ACT Medical in Medicine Hat suddenly closed this week.
According to Mosli, the owner, who again is not a doctor and therefore not subject to certain provincial regulations related to the closure, has returned to British Columbia.
Mosli, who was a physician for ACT Medical before becoming its owner, believes this is leading to closures in other ACT cities, including Calgary, Lethbridge and Grande Prairie. This has not been confirmed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA).
ACT’s parent company is Levitee Clinics, which did not return calls from CHAT News Today.
CPSA says it is working with Medicine Hat clinic management and AHS to make sure patients get the care they need.