For the last year, about 65 people in the Moncton area have been able to get help with substance use or gambling issues during the day and then go home at night.
Offered through Horizon Health's Addiction and Mental Health Services, the Intensive Day Treatment program gives people over age 19 a different way to manage their issues, allowing them to remain in the community they live and socialize in.
The four- to six-week program is conducted in a group setting, offering everything from talking circles to art therapy.
Natalie Theriault-Stordy, the program's clinical coordinator, says the program focuses on a positive approach and helping participants develop the skills to address substance-use issues.
"We don't directly talk about their substance use," she said. "We talk about recovery, giving them hope, resilience, working on their strengths."
Being able to help people in their own communities is one of the program's key advantages, Theriault-Stordy said.
On Fridays, heading into the weekend, the group discusses the possible "high-risk situations" participants might encounter.
"And then on Monday, we talk about those things – what are the lessons learned? What are the things that were successes?" she said.
"So being in their environment and working their recovery at the same time, that's sort of the benefit."
The program's first year hasn't been an easy one, with participant numbers often having to be readjusted because of COVID-19 restrictions, Theriault-Stordy said.
While the program may be enough for some participants, others might return to a clinician, or be referred to a community program for more support.
Shannon Willett, an occupational therapist with the program, sees the importance of treating people where they live.
"There's a lot of need for people to receive services where they live rather than leaving the city they live in and coming back," she said. "It allows people to practice skills at home with their entourage of people they see often."
The program is currently being offered to people in Albert, Westmoreland and Kent County. It's also offered to First nations communities like Elsipogtog, Fort Folly, Bouctouche and Indian Island.
But there are hopes it will expand elsewhere.
"Originally IDT was a test site," Willett said.
"So Moncton is the first location and my understanding is that they're planning to roll out in the other major cities in the province."
For now, Willett said, she'll celebrate the successes achieved in the first year of operation.
"When you've been part of the development of a program and then you see that the project is going in the direction everyone wanted it to go in ... that's been the most satisfying part," she said.