What are RAAM Clinics?

wall with opened door and RAAM partner logosSubstance use is very common among Canadians. Most of us use at least one substance, such as: alcohol, opioids, cannabis, cocaine or benzodiazepines; it can be an important part of social life. However, when substance use leads to a hospital visit, it may be a sign that substance use is interfering with an individual’s life.

Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) clinics provide low barrier access for individuals seeking treatment for any substance use disorder. No appointment is needed and individuals will be seen on a walk-in basis, all that’s needed is an Ontario Health Card.

RAAM Clinics help manage addictions and offer quick access to quality care. The teams have experience treating individuals struggling with substance use.

Based on the information provided by the individual, the RAAM clinic teams will work with the teams at the hospital to provide the best care. If an individual sometimes uses substances excessively or problematically but are often able to use moderately, do not suffer serious social harms from using, and do not experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using; the team may determine that the substance use is risky. On the other hand, if the individual has trouble using moderately, has difficulty fulfilling obligations at work, school or home, continues to use despite negative consequences, and experiences withdrawal symptoms when they stop using; the medical team may diagnose them with a substance use disorder.

The RAAM clinic teams will be able to provide advice on how to make choices that will minimize the risks of intoxication, such as tips on how to pace use and situations to avoid which could trigger use. They are able to refer to various services such as counselling, case management and peer support.

Addiction to some substances, such as alcohol or opioids, can be treated with medication that will help to lessen cravings, as well as the withdrawal symptoms that may accompany the early days of sobriety. Medication usually makes other types of treatment much more effective; reducing the risk of relapse. These medications are safe, and effective. The teams will discuss what options would be the right fit.

ASYR is partnering with Humber River Hospital, Southlake Regional Health Hospital, Markham Stouffville Hospital, Stevenson Memorial Hospital, Mackenzie Health Hospital and North York General Hospital to provide this important service to people in the community.