COVID-19 coronavirus update:
As of end of day on Apr. 1, outpatient clinics are no longer permitted at our Seaforth location, which is leased from the Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance, until further notice, due to COVID-19. As a result, our Huron location has relocated to 29 Kingston St. in Goderich (Choices for Change offices).
Please remember to self screen for infection. If you screen positive, please don't come to clinic until you are feeling better. You are encouraged to seek medical attention to get tested for COVID-19.
Please be assured that staff and patients are screened daily. All surfaces are cleaned and sanitized frequently. Proper hand hygiene and use of hand washing, hand sanitizer and/or disposable gloves and masks is our standard of patient care, to protect clients from coronavirus and all other preventable infections.
If you are unable to make your appointment for any reason, please also be sure to contact us as soon as possible to ensure no interruption in your treatment.
To limit the number of people in the clinic space at any one time, several new measures will be effective immediately:
A. Hours at all clinics will expand to 10:30 to 4:30 with the time of 12:00-1:00 reserved for seeing new scheduled clients, and breaking for lunch.
B. You may be asked to wait in your car/cab/outdoors until your turn is called.
C. We will be moving from drop-in scheduling to scheduling based on last name. Please strictly follow the schedule below, unless you have spoken to clinic staff and made a different arrangement:
Last name beginning with A to D: 10:30 to 11:30
Last name beginning with E-H -- 11:30 to 12:00
Last name beginning with I-Mac -- 1:00 to 2:00
Last name beginning with Mad-P -- 2:00 to 3:00
Last name beginning with R-T -- 3:00 to 4:00
Last name beginning with U-Z -- 4:00 to 4:30
Be sure to make your transportation arrangements to reflect these new requirements.
Please be sure to check the News & Alerts page for all other updates.
The Huron-Perth Clinic is an addiction medicine program serving Huron and Perth Counties that was originally established in 2013. The program is delivered in collaboration with Choices for Change, HPHA Mental Health Services, and Dr. Jason Datema. It makes use of technology supported by the Ontario Telemedicine Network to make services available locally. Although the main focus of the program is on opioid dependence, treatment is available for alcohol and tobacco dependence as well.
This program has been designed to address previously unmet needs in Perth and Huron Counties. It is unique in offering medication to assist with management of the cravings and withdrawal that make quitting so difficult, addiction counseling and support to help learn the tools to stay 'clean', and access to both primary care and psychiatric services, all under one roof.
To make a first appointment, please call (226) 455-2165 to leave a message including a call-back number. A nurse or counsellor will usually respond within a day. See the Huron and Perth Location and Hours of Operation pages for more information on times and locations for appointments.
A first appointment requires a lot of information-gathering and can take an hour. To speed up the process, please print and complete the initial patient assessment form with as much detail as possible, and bring it with you to your appointment.
The two main medications used for the treatment of opioid dependence are methadone and Suboxone. If you want to know more about methadone or Suboxone as a treatment for opioid dependence, check out this brief guide or this more detailed one from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.
Dr. Datema will help you decide which medication is right for you, or if another treatment program would be better. We believe it is important to keep your primary care (family) doctor informed of any treatment that is started, but that is entirely up to you. If you do want to let them know, we will need signed consent to share information.
If you already know about methadone and Suboxone, and feel that you want to start on a program, you can read and print a methadone treatment agreement or Suboxone treatment agreement ahead of time, and bring it with you to your first appointment.
Methadone prescribing is closely regulated by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. The main reason for the tight regulation is to make sure people stay safe when taking it. Here is some more information on staying safe while taking methadone, especially in the first few weeks.
Suboxone is unique from methadone in that you have to be in a bit of withdrawal before you start it, or it can make you feel sick. Most experts suggest 12 hours since using an opioid that has been chewed, snorted, smoked, or injected, and 24 hours since using an opioid that has simply been swallowed. If you've been taking methadone, you should wait even longer before starting Suboxone, and usually only after first tapering down to as low a dose as you can manage. Regardless of which opioid you've been using, filling out this scale can help us determine if you are in enough withdrawal to safely start Suboxone. For those who just can't tolerate withdrawal, there are other ways of safely starting Suboxone without having to be in withdrawal that Dr. Datema can discuss with you. There is also a new injectable product that can be taken once per month, instead of taking tablets daily, once you are on a stable dose with the tablets.
Follow-up appointments generally take place every week, but are much quicker and are more focussed. A supervised urine sample is expected at each visit, so please come "prepared."
The length of the program depends on many factors, most importantly the client's wishes, but statistics tell us the greatest chance of long-term success is by sticking with it for 2-3 years.
Details of clinic policies are available in the client agreements for methadone and Suboxone.
To emphasize this very important point, please note the following taken directly from the agreement signed by each client:
Behaviour While in The Clinic
I understand that the following behaviour is not acceptable:
I agree to maintain positive, respectful behaviour toward staff and other program clients at all times when in the clinic. Threats, racist or sexist remarks, physical violence, theft, property vandalism or mischief, possessing weapons and selling or buying illicit substances while in or near the clinic are extremely serious program violations that may result in the termination of my treatment.
Thank you for abiding by these principles at all times.
Medication assistance is available in the treatment of other dependence problems as well. For alcohol dependence, naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram are all established medical therapies that are available in addition to counselling and support services. Again, booking a first appointment by calling (226) 455-2165 is all you need to do, but it is very helpful if you also fill out the initial patient assessment form and bring it to the first appointment. Remember when filling out the form that alcohol is also considered a drug.
For tobacco dependence, varenicline, bupropion, and no-cost nicotine replacement therapy are all available, in addition to counselling and support services.
Unfortunately, medications are not yet available to help with the treatment of other substance use problems for drugs such as cocaine, crystal meth, and marijuana, but research is ongoing. Nevertheless, Choices for Change can help with any drug, alcohol, or gambling issues, and can link you to other support services as well.
In addition to the services listed above, a needle syringe program (no exchange required) is available during clinic hours with support from Huron Perth Public Health.