The most comprehensive review of addiction services in Northeastern Ontario has just wrapped up. The Local Health Integration Network did this study, which looked the strengths and the challenges Northerners face when trying to access addiction services.

Dr. Brian Rush, who presented the review, pointed out some key findings. That includes the use of health services related to substance use is 1.5 to 2.5 times higher in the Northeast compared to the provincial average. Also, First Nations, Aboriginal, and Métis people are over-represented in the number of people receiving treatment. That number is between 30 and 35 per cent, compared to their proportion in the region’s population, which is 11 per cent.

Dr. Rush has outlined a series of recommendations to improve access and coordination of services. That includes things like residential treatment, addiction medicine, and withdrawal management. The LHIN is now working to develop a plan to put those six recommendations into action.