Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine (RAAM) Clinic
The RAAM clinic is an easy to access, walk-in clinic that people can visit to get help for substance use without an appointment or formal referral.
What is a RAAM clinic and who is it for?
RAAM clinics are drop-in clinics for people looking to get help with high risk substance use and addictions. 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, infections, among others.
RAAM clinics are not for people needing urgent medical attention for urgent physical problems or mental health symptoms such as psychosis (paranoia, delusions, hallucinations), agitation, active risk of harm to self or others, or requiring police/security involvement.
The people working at these clinics know how difficult it is to ask for help. You don’t need an appointment to go to the clinic – just show up during clinic hours with your Manitoba Health card.
Substance use is common among Canadians. But when your substance use leads to a hospital visit, it’s a sign that it is causing problems in your life.
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 is safe and effective.
What happens when I go to a RAAM clinic?
The clinic team will ask you about your history of substance use:
- 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 not there to judge you. The point of these questions is not to make you feel guilty or defensive, but to get a complete picture of you in order to determine how to help you.
Substance use conditions are treatable.
The RAAM clinic team then recommends what treatment will likely work best for you. There are four options:
- Advice – Many people who have to go to the hospital for a substance-related problem are injured as a result of using too much. In these cases, the RAAM clinic team will provide you with advice on how to make choices that will minimize the risks of substance use, such as tips on how to pace your use and situations to avoid.
- Counselling – The RAAM clinic team may refer you to counselling as part of your treatment. Counselling programs can include education on substances and healthy lifestyle choice, group and individual therapy sessions, help with developing coping skills, cognitive behavioural therapy, and peer support groups. The team will work with you to determine what form of counselling would be most helpful for you.
- Medications – Addiction to some substances, such as alcohol or opioids, can be treated with a medication that will help to lessen cravings, as well as the withdrawal symptoms that may accompany your early days of sobriety. Medication usually makes other types of treatment much more effective and reduces the risk of relapse. These medications are safe, effective, and non-addictive. The team will discuss your options with you.
- Support – If you’re feeling anxious or hesitant about going to the RAAM clinic, consider bringing a supportive person with you. Changing your substance use can be very difficult, and having someone with you while you speak to the team may make you feel less overwhelmed and less alone.
Where can I find a RAAM clinic?
Crisis Response Centre
817 Bannatyne Avenue
Regular Hours: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 1 to 3 p.m.
7th Street Health Access Centre
20 – 7th Street
Regular Hours: Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Phone: 204-578-4800 (Call Monday – Friday 11:00am-7:00pm)
Selkirk Community Health Office
237 Manitoba Avenue
Regular Hours: Tuesdays from 12:30 to 3:30pm.
Phone: 204-785-7513 (Call Monday – Friday 8:30-4:30)
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.
For more information, call the Manitoba Addictions Helpline at 1-855-662-6605.
For youth under 18 years old, please contact the Youth Addiction Centralized Intake service. Call 1-877-710-3999 or visit https://manitoba.ca/health/mh/addictions/youth.html.