Addictions services and staff have now been moved to the Portage District General Hospital.

Addictions services used to be provided at 9 Saskatchewan Avenue West in Portage la Prairie, but as of Tuesday, they have been transported to the mental health department at the hospital.

Cathy Aab, manager of mental health with the Southern Health-Santé Sud Community Mental Health Program, says there is no change to staffing levels or services with this move. Instead, the program has become stronger.

"Well, as part of ongoing health transformation, and stemming from the VIRGO report that was released several years ago, one of the main recommendations was to ensure that mental health and addiction services sort of became one, knowing that many people don't have one versus the other," says Aab. "Many people who struggle with addictions often struggle with mental health and mental illness concerns, and vice versa."

The VIRGO Report was released in 2018 and featured 125 recommendations for improving access to and coordination of mental health and addictions services in Manitoba. You can read more on that report here.

"Amalgamating mental health and addictions to offer more seamless, integrated services for people who are seeking supports from one or the other or both, was one of the strongest recommendations from the VIRGO report," says Aab. "Hence, the move to sort of dismantle [Addictions Foundation of Manitoba in Portage] and incorporate it into one, under the Service Delivery Organization (SDO) -- including Southern-Health Santé Sud -- to have the services be run under one umbrella."

To contact adult-based community addictions services and community addictions and impaired driver services in Portage la Prairie, the public may call 204-239-2338.