MPP Dave Smith Announces a New Pilot Project for Mental Health and Addictions

Published on March 04, 2022

Today, MPP Dave Smith announced a new and innovative pilot project to combat the opioid crisis in Peterborough-Kawartha.

MPP Dave Smith Announces ‘Moving Beyond Addiction,’ a New Pilot Project for Mental Health and Addictions to Address the Needs of 320 Individuals

Moving Beyond Addiction will offer a barrier-free pathway for individuals across Peterborough-Kawartha


Peterborough – Today, Dave Smith, Member of Provincial Parliament for Peterborough-Kawartha was joined by Peggy Shaughnessy, Founder and President of Whitepath Consulting and Debbie Carriere, Executive Director of the Elizabeth Fry Society, to announce funding for Moving Beyond Addiction, a unique and innovative pilot project in Peterborough-Kawartha for mental health and addictions.

Right to Heal, a local non-profit organization, will receive $367,480 in funding from the government of Ontario. This funding will enable a significant expansion of their services across Peterborough-Kawartha over a 16-month period. Right to Heal will employ the use of Redpath programs, treating addictions by using psychology-based methods to identify the reasons behind substance abuse and developing the social, emotional, and practical skills to move beyond addiction and fully reintegrate back into society.

“Individuals with addictions more often than not develop addictions by using substances to either feel something or numb something. The root cause is almost always trauma; whether it’s from abuse, mental health challenges, or pain,” MPP Dave Smith said. “If we are truly going to address the mental health and addictions crisis, a wide variety of treatments options need to exist locally. The Right to Heal pilot program will turn many lives around; reducing homelessness, addiction, crime, and overdose deaths in our community,” MPP Smith added.

“Both before and during this horrible pandemic, we’ve seen a surge in demand for high-quality addictions care that addresses the unique needs of vulnerable populations in Peterborough and across Ontario,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “By funding The Right to Heal pilot program, we are taking an important step towards ensuring that individuals and families in Peterborough and the surrounding region have targeted, reliable access to the mental health and addictions supports they expect and deserve.”

Clients referred to the program will typically be homeless, at-risk of homelessness, living with mental health/addictions issues and trauma, or disconnected from appropriate services. The Elizabeth Fry Society will administer the referral process, enabling the funding for the pilot to flow fully to program services. The pilot program will work in collaboration with primary and secondary target populations, prioritized in this order:

  1. Peterborough Police, Peterborough County-City Paramedics and Peterborough Regional Health Centre referring clients who have experienced, or are at risk of experiencing, opioid overdoses.

    2.Health and social services referring clients from places such as the Consumption and Treatment Services/Opioid              Response Hub, Brock Mission, Cameron House, and One Roof Community Centre. Additionally, the program will accept      family and self-referrals.

“This announcement comes to almost the day of our twentieth anniversary of Whitepath Consulting.  We have been delivering addiction and mental health services across Canada and beyond during this time and have developed great partnerships with many organizations within the city and surrounding areas,” said Peggy Shaughnessy, Founder and President of Whitepath Consulting. “With the recent announcement regarding the Consumption and Treatment Services funding, this funding will help expand addiction treatment services in our area and allow funding for the Redpath program that has shown great success in other areas.  I want to thank David Smith MPP for his continuous support and work bringing funding to our area to provide further services to help those in need,” Shaughnessy added.

Right to Heal will have the capacity to address the needs of 320 individuals in the community. Once referred, clients will undergo a rigorous and evidence-based assessment to determine the correct treatment for their unique needs. The assessment will consider multiple variables to determine their needs, including backgrounds of trauma, abuse, domestic violence, housing status, financial situation, and level of substance abuse. Once the assessment is complete, they will enter into one-on-one counselling and/or the Redpath Intervention Program.

Redpath’s Intervention Program consists of 21 counselling and training sessions that are 3 hours in length in both community and institutional settings. Sessions focus on identifying trauma and the cause, understanding why a client uses substances, the development of coping mechanisms and practical, emotional and social skills. Clients will then enter an After Care Program, requiring two hours on a weekly basis for group training sessions focussing on personal development and fully reintegrating back into society.

“We have had the opportunity to connect clients to the program and are witnessing firsthand the impact Redpath has. We at Elizabeth Fry can see this program coming alive through our referrals from various connections within the health care and criminal justice sectors,” said Debbie Carriere. “As someone who has completed this program myself, I can truly speak to the excellent opportunity this is bringing to our community for healing,” Carriere added.

Additional Resources

Ontario Invests $500,000 to Strengthen, Expand Withdrawal Management Services in Peterborough

Roadmap to Wellness: a plan to build Ontario’s mental health and additions system

Ontario Invests $1,000,000 in New Mental Health and Addictions Clinic for Peterborough

Ontario Invests $1,350,000 in Consumption and Treatment Services in Peterborough


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