The chair of District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board believes he and the agency’s CAO have made headway on a mental health and addictions crisis that’s hit the area. Chair Mark King and CAO Joe Bradbury met with health minister Doctor Eric Hoskins over the high number of mental health and addictions patients in Nipissing. King told Hoskins the board needs $2.5 million so support staff can help this vulnerable group. Although the minister didn’t commit any money on the spot, King is confident help will come. “There’s no question in my mind the minister wants to help,” King said. “I like to think I can tell when people are interested or disinterested in most cases.”
King says Hoskins directed his staff to help the Nipissing board find a solution to the crisis. He also told King and Bradbury to remain tenacious on the issue which King said there is no intention to give up on the matter. Figures from the Local Health Integration Network show visits to emergency in North Bay for alcohol and substance abuse are 20 per cent to 30 per cent higher respectively than the rest of Ontario. The LHIN numbers also show that multiple drug abuse is 42 per cent higher than the rest of Ontario. King and Bradbury met Hoskins at the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) conference in Toronto. this week.