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30 January 2024
A Sydney-based harm reduction organization is extending its hours to better serve Nova Scotians in the area.
The Ally Centre of Cape Breton runs a drop-in centre and an overdose prevention site that was previously available Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. With funding from the Province, the centre’s full suite of services are now available until 8 p.m. weekdays and the drop-in centre will be open on weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“Addictions and mental healthcare is not a nine to five, Monday to Friday job. People need help beyond regular business hours,” said Brian Comer, Minister of Addictions and Mental Health. “This new funding will help some of the most vulnerable in our community get the support they need in a warm, safe place into the evening and on weekends.”
The centre provides educational programs and other services, including a safe needle exchange, anonymous testing for HIV and other infections, free naloxone kits and training on how to prevent an overdose, peer support, a health clinic, housing support and a food bank. Its drop-in program offers people a safe place to grab a coffee, get answers to questions or referrals to other programs and chat with their neighbours.
“When we announced to the clients that the centre will be opened into the evenings and on the weekends, they were so happy! As one client noted, ‘There is nothing open in the downtown here past 5 o’clock. We couldn’t use a bathroom even if we wanted to. At least now we have access to clean supplies and if we overdose, we will be helped.’ Increasing our hours of operation helps reduce barriers to support and prevention services for those most at risk.”
— Christine Porter, Executive Director, Ally Centre of Cape Breton
Action for Health, the government’s plan to improve healthcare: https://novascotia.ca/actionforhealth/
Ally Centre of Cape Breton: https://www.allycentreofcapebreton.com/
Nova Scotia Take-Home Naloxone Program: http://www.nsnaloxone.com/
People can self-refer for mental health and addictions care by calling central intake at 1-855-922-1122
Mandate Letter for the Minister of Addictions and Mental Health: https://novascotia.ca/exec_council/letters-2021/ministerial-mandate-letter-2021-CNS-AMH-Youth.pdf