What is a RAAM clinic and who is it for?
RAAM clinics are walk-in clinics for adults (ages 18+) looking to get help with high-risk substance use and addiction. This includes people who want to try medical assistance to reduce or stop their substance use. They may experience frequent intoxication or overdose symptoms, as well as unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when attempting to reduce or stop their substance use. RAAM clinics are also for people who may have substance-related health issues, such as hepatitis, pancreatitis and infections. No referral is needed.
RAAM clinics are not for people needing urgent medical attention for serious physical problems or mental health symptoms such as psychosis (paranoia, delusions, hallucinations), agitation; who are at active risk of harm to self or others, or who require police/security involvement.
It can be very difficult to accept that your substance use is problematic, and it’s normal to feel ashamed, frightened, or angry. But the good news is that medical treatment for problematic substance use and addiction is safe and effective. People can and do recover from addiction.
You don’t need an appointment, just show up during clinic hours. If you have a Manitoba Health card or Manitoba Health number, please bring this along.
What happens when I go to a RAAM clinic?
If you’re feeling anxious or hesitant about going to the RAAM clinic, consider bringing a supportive person with you. This may make you feel less overwhelmed and less alone.
The clinic team will complete a health history including questions about your substance use such as:
- when and how you started using
- how much and how frequently you use
- how it may impact your life and responsibilities
The clinic team is there to help you. These questions are to get a complete picture of you in order to determine how to best help you.
Substance use conditions are treatable.
Once the health history is complete, the RAAM clinic team will make treatment recommendations. There are four options:
The RAAM clinic team will provide you with information on how to make choices that will lower the risks of substance use, such as tips on how to pace your use as well as situations to avoid.
The RAAM clinic team provides brief counseling or may refer you to counselling programs as part of your treatment. Counselling programs can include education on substances and healthy lifestyle choices, group and individual counselling sessions, help with developing coping skills, and connections to support groups. The team will work with you to determine what form of counselling would be most helpful for you.
Addiction to some substances, such as alcohol or opioids, can be treated with a medication that will help to lessen cravings, as well as decrease the withdrawal symptoms that may accompany your early days of sobriety. Medication may make other types of treatment more effective and reduce the risk of relapse. These medications are safe and effective when prescribed by a RAAM physician. The team will discuss appropriate options with you.
There may be the need for more intensive services such as withdrawal management services (i.e. “detox”) or residential addiction treatment. The RAAM clinic team can arrange referrals to these services, among other specialized services.
Where can I find a RAAM clinic?
The posted clinic hours are for new walk-in patients seeking RAAM clinic services. In addition, the RAAM clinical team - physician, counsellor, nurse - provides follow-up to patients, coordinating medication management, making referrals to other services, supporting and consulting with other providers, and informing other service providers about RAAM clinic services.
To learn when other RAAM clinics open or for more information:
Manitoba Addictions Helpline 1-855-662-6605 or go to http://mbaddictionhelp.ca/services/rapid-access-to-addictions-medicine-raam/
For youth under 18 years old, please contact the Youth Addiction Centralized Intake service:
Call 1-877-710-3999 (8:30 am – 4:30 pm, weekdays) or visit www.manitoba.ca/health/mh/addictions/youth.html