Health and Community Services
April 12, 2019

Mental Health and Addictions Services Expanding with Introduction of Opioid Dependency Treatment Program in Gander

Mental health and addictions services are expanding in Gander with the introduction of an Opioid Dependency Treatment (ODT) program.

Based on the Vermont model for ODT, the program offers a safer approach for treatment of opioid dependency, and increases the availability and utilization of Suboxone – considered the first choice of treatment for opioid dependency.

The ODT program is designed in a hub and spoke model with Gander serving as the hub. Health care professionals working in the hub have expertise in mental health and addictions. This team supports primary care teams in the spokes which are the rural communities surrounding the hub. Once individuals are stabilized on ODT, they will receive support and maintenance from primary care providers in their home communities. In-person and telehealth services are available.

This holistic approach to care strengthens the connection between substance use counselling and medical treatment by looking at clients’ needs beyond their opioid use to address possible needs for counselling, further mental health and addictions assessment, and social issues like housing and social isolation.

The ODT hub began welcoming clients in Gander on March 26. There are currently approximately 75 clients receiving medical oversight and follow-up.

A number of family practitioners, general physicians and nurse practitioners have expressed interest in supporting the ODT hub and spokes service model. Additional prescribers and counselling resources will be added as the program continues to evolve to meet the needs of the population.

Work is also underway to open a new opioid dependency treatment clinic in Gambo. This clinic will be similar to the clinic opened in March on Bell Island at the Dr. Walter Templeman Health Care Centre. The clinic is expected to open later this year.

These initiatives deliver on commitments in The Way Forward to deliver better services and better outcomes for residents. The Way Forward outlines all actions the Provincial Government is taking to achieve a strong, diversified province with a high standard of living and can be viewed at

“We recognize the importance of providing an ODT program as close to home as possible. With Gander as a hub and Gambo as a spoke, we are moving closer to just that.”
Honourable John Haggie
Minister of Health and Community Services

“This program is about wrapping customized care services around a person to address the whole person – not just their opioid use – and to deliver that care as close to home as possible. That’s truly person-centred care.”
Andrée Robichaud
President and CEO, Central Health

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Learn more
Towards Recovery: The Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan for Newfoundland and Labrador PDF icon

Opioid Dependency Treatment Clinic to be offered on Bell Island

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Media contacts
Kathy Dicks-Peyton
Health and Community Services
709-729-6986, 699-1982

Gaïtane Villeneuve
Central Health

2019 04 12                              11:35 a.m.