SAH to continue operating Concurrent Disorders Day Treatment despite lack of funding


Sault Area Hospital has made the decision that it will continue to offer the Concurrent Disorders Day Treatment program in view of “our community’s evident need.” 

Despite no new funding from the Province to support the extension of this service, the program will continue to focus on providing provide care within the community for for individuals with moderate to severe substance abuse as well as co-existing mental health issues.  

The hospital has therefore included A New Day Concurrent Disorders Intensive Day Treatment Program in its fiscal 2024/2025 operating plan. SAH manager of communications Brandy Sharp Young stated in an interview on Thursday that the program carries an annual operating budget of $750,000. 

“We continue to advocate to secure base funding for this service, recognizing its critical role in supporting individuals with concurrent disorders within our community,” Sharp Young said. 

In January, Sault Area Hospital did receive one-time program funding in the amount of $750,000 for the fiscal year 2023-2024. This boost was intended to enable SAH’s mental health and addictions program to provide treatment for 60 to 100 individuals. This money had to be utilized by March 31 and, in order to continue the program beyond that, SAH had previously indicated that it was lobbying Ontario Health North for more dollars with a view to fiscal year 2024-2025. 

The choice to continue the program currently being delivered at Northway Wellness Centre, the $21-million facility that officially opened last September on Old Garden River Road, was made “after considering the evident need for the program in our community,” the hospital said. 

SAH was unable to comment on how long it would continue to offer the program should provincial support fail to come through. 

January’s financial injection facilitated the first session, which the hospital stated in a social media post saw “remarkable outcomes,”. Statistically, 80 per cent of attendees completed the program, as well as reached other milestones beyond completing the program including securing suitable housing, returning to school, gaining employment and reuniting with family.

The service is modeled upon Ottawa’s Royal Hospital gold standard program and was tailored to serve Sault Ste. Marie. It offers a blend of psychotherapy, art therapy, recreation, music and daily living activities, such as food preparation, safe storage and other practical needs. 

Data has shown that emergency room visits and deaths related to opioid use and abuse are significantly higher in the Sault than that of provincial averages. 

Figures released in February by Ontario’s Chief Coroner identified that Sault Ste. Marie has higher than provincial average rates for opioid-related calls. Drilling down, third-quarter results for 2023 indicated that Sault Ste. Marie has twice the provincial rate for opioid-related emergency department visits, three times the provincial rate for hospitalizations and sits slightly above (0.6 times) the provincial rate for deaths.

— with files from


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