A deal is in the works for Clinic 554 to be purchased and turned into an apartment building for people recovering from drug addiction.
Dr. Sara Davidson, director of the River Stone Recover Center in Fredericton, said the transaction is still ongoing, but her plan is to purchase the building at 554 Brunswick Street and renovate it into an apartment building. four floors containing 16 to 24 units.
Davidson opened the River Stone Recovery Center in 2020, to provide treatment for those suffering from stimulant and opiate addiction. It was one of five centers in Canada to receive funding from Health Canada to test a method of treatment that involves prescribing injected medical-grade opiates to those who do not respond to oral therapy.
She said the center has been successful so far, with patients responding well to treatment.
However, housing remains a barrier to the success of some treatments, Davidson said, and the hope is that apartments will provide a safe and secure environment to help those recovering.
“I think anyone will be able to set life goals and achieve them once they have a place to live,” she said.
“It’s impossible to imagine anything really changing or getting worse if people aren’t housed.
“Housing alone is medicine and then it helps provide that stability.”
Apart from the apartments, she said the plan also involves the creation of a training and entrepreneurship center on the ground floor to help residents and other community members re-engage with society.
Davidson said it’s hard to say when the deal will be finalized, but said the hope is to do so and construction will begin next spring.
She said she hoped to get funding from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and that the apartments would be subsidized by the Department of Social Development.
She said she wanted to share information about the plan publicly as soon as possible to dispel rumors in the community that the intention was to open a safe injection site.
These rumors were associated with residents’ concerns about the site’s proximity to George Street Middle School, she said.
“I recognize that people are fearful when they think of other people who have substance use disorders, but a lot of that is unfortunately based purely on fear rather than necessarily who the people are. real people,” she said.
A History of Medical Services Clinic
For decades, the Brunswick Street building was used for medical services, including abortions, which were provided there for a time by the Dr. Henry Morgentaler Clinic.
The clinic was forced to close in 2014 because the province was not funding the procedures.
Dr. Adrian Edgar took over in 2015 and renamed it Clinic 554, with a focus on abortions and transgender health care. In 2019, he announced he would put the clinic up for sale for the same reason, a lack of provincial funding.
CBC News asked Edgar for an interview about what the impending sale of Clinic 554 means for the clinic and the services it provides.
Edgar responded in an email that it would be “premature” for him to predict how this will affect abortion and access to sexual health care at this point.
“If the sale goes through, I’ll be happy to know that another family doctor has taken up the mantle and will continue to use the space to care for the vulnerable.” [New Brunswickers],” he said.
“There is a huge health impact when a person is stigmatized for their most difficult circumstances, and it is a fundamental tenet of family practice to treat everyone with compassion by meeting them where they are.
“I’ve tried to do it every day, and I know Dr. Davidson will too.”