The Edmonton Police Service and Radius Community Health and Healing are providing a safe space for intoxicated individuals in police custody to recover and access support services.
“Persons who are experiencing addictions issues are a complex challenge for police, and while detention can alleviate immediate concerns, a more comprehensive approach is needed to address underlying issues related to addictions and mental health,” says Inspector Jason Altmiks with the EPS Investigations Management and Approval Centre Branch.
With funding from the Government of Alberta, the former holding cells at Police Headquarters have been repurposed to create the new Integrated Care Centre (ICC), which provides a much-needed intermediary location for individuals to be lodged and connect with professional care prior to release.
This integrated approach to care includes:
- On-site paramedics for medical screening and treatment.
- Continual monitoring by community peace officers.
- Radius Community Health and Healing’s counselling and assistance with health, addiction, and social supports that extend beyond release.
“The longstanding relationship we have with EPS helps us develop a much more integrated approach to care between our two organizations,” says Tricia Smith, Executive Director of Radius Community Health and Healing. “This is an opportunity to ensure that individuals get access to the health and social supports they may need to stem their crisis.”
While the ICC model has the potential to be community-run in the future, it was created to help divert individuals into support services rather than continued involvement with the justice system. Specifically, for individuals who are creating a disturbance of some kind in an altered state by drugs or alcohol, who would not be permitted into shelters and would otherwise be kept in police holding cells.
The facility can provide integrated care to up to 17 intoxicated individuals at any given time.