Substance abuse treatment team receives Premier's Award

November 23, 2017

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Substance abuse treatment team receives Premier's Award

A team of Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region employees recently accepted the Premier’s Award for Excellence in Public Service.

From left: Robyn Buergel, Kristin Hitchings, Robyn Koester, Brian Danyliw, Erin O’Connor, Lorri Carlson and Kristin Wilkie. Photo: Submitted

That team is the Dedicated Substance Abuse Treatment Unit (DSATU), a specialized group working in the Regina Provincial Correctional Center (RPCC) providing addictions treatment to male inmates.

In 2005, a need was identified to offer adult offenders in provincial prisons a more intensive treatment option. Following the work of the Regina Drug Strategy, a proposal was developed, provincial funds were dedicated and a smaller working committee comprising Corrections and Policing (CP), Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region (RQHR), and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health was established.

DSATU became operational in 2008. The program offers effective, evidence-based treatment programming for inmates with significant substance abuse issues— specifically it covers: risk assessment, screening tools to assess treatment needs and motivations for each individual, preventing relapse, developing problem solving skills, setting goals, and offering post-treatment support.

Staff counsel individuals one-on-one and also do group workshops to discuss substance abuse and then do self-reflection work.

The program is delivered by a combination of staff from CP and RQHR Mental Health and Addiction Services. Staff have extensive knowledge in: motivational interviewing, strategies for promoting self-change, criminal lifestyles and cognitive behavioural theory.

In addition to the addiction treatment, a variety of cultural and life skills programming is provided to enhance treatment outcomes. Inmates are also given access to resources like probation services, parole and community training resources when they are released.

Brian Danyliw, director of Addiction Services, said he and his team were nominated by Corrections and public safety/Justice.

“I am very proud of this program and my hard working team. We have been able to reduce recidivism (tendency to reoffend) in a statistically measurable way for upwards to 2 years which is a monumental achievement,” said Danyliw.


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