Detachment Commander of the Kenora OPP, Jeff Duggan, says a partnership program between police and the Lake of the Woods District Hospital’s Morningstar Centre has been a huge success.

Implemented in August of 2016, the Detox First program aims to reduce the number of intoxicated people being brought to police detachment cells, and to provide various supports for those in need at the Morningstar Detox Centre in Kenora. 

“Detox First has been a huge success for us. It allows us to take intoxicated people to a place where they are going to be looked after, get the help that they need, and get the referrals that they need. From there, they can get involved in any other program that the Morningstar Detox has.”

Between 2012 and 2016, the OPP were averaging between 1,394 and 2,024 lockups for intoxicated people in detachment cells. In 2017, following the implementation of the Detox First program, that number fell to under 500. From 2015 to 2017, there was a $170,000 decrease in guarding costs.

Duggan added that the program is reducing general street crime and calls for service in the downtown core.

“It doesn’t stigmatize substance abuse. We’re not locking people up in a jail cell for 8 hours and then releasing them, that’s not where they should be. They should be at a place where they can get help. It’s been a huge success.”

The Managed Alcohol Program includes physician prescribed alcohol, specialized physician care, mental health and addictions counselling, nutrition and support from the Morningstar Centre staff.

The program aims to help with reducing contact with police, emergency department visits, hospital admissions, overall health care costs and improve a participant’s quality of life. Patients enter the program voluntarily.

For more information:
Detox First reducing lockups

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