RAAM patient Kimberly Humphrey with Shiraz Nuraddin, RAAM Addictions Counsellor.

From old addictions to new beginnings: SHN RAAM patient paints the colour back into her life

When Kimberly Humphrey thinks about what Scarborough Health Network’s (SHN) Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) Clinic means to her, her eyes instantly well up with tears.

“The RAAM Clinic gave me my life back,” said the long-time Scarborough resident.

It was an arduous road to recovery for the 52-year-old, who was first prescribed opioid medications to manage severe pain following a series of five surgeries within two years. After years of using the highly addictive medication, it became evident to Kimberly that she was struggling with a serious addiction and needed help.

“I was in a fog and I never left my house. I knew I had a problem with the drugs, but I didn’t care because I needed them to deal with the pain.”

She recalls an important appointment with her family doctor that ultimately changed the course of her life.

“My family doctor, Dr. Jerry Somer, sat me down and told me that I couldn’t continue doing what I was doing. He handed me a brochure about the RAAM Clinic and asked me if I would give it a try. I promised him I would.”

RAAM provides barrier-free access to medical treatments and same-day counselling services on a walk-in basis to people who are struggling with alcohol, opioid, or other substances. Through hospital and community-based partnerships, patients are better able reintegrate back into the community with ongoing supports.

With the help of addiction counsellor Shiraz Nuraddin and the RAAM team, Kimberly was able to gain control of her opioid use within two weeks. She credits all of the clinic’s staff and doctors for kick-starting her success, and continues to access RAAM services that tremendously improve her quality of life.

“The team is great at providing personalized care,” she said. “They let me vent on the days I need to vent and support me without judgment. They give me that extra boost of confidence whenever I need it and the staff is the reason I keep coming back.”

For Shiraz, ensuring every person who comes in feels welcomed, comfortable, and understood is a top priority.

“The approach of everyone on our team – from our psychotherapists, to our registered nurse, to our physicians, is to provide warm, patient-centred, trauma-informed, and compassionate care,” said Shiraz. “It is incredible to witness Kimberly’s journey towards recovery and wellness through the interdisciplinary approach we take here.”

Besides rediscovering a sense of purpose and belonging through recovery, Kimberly has rekindled a lifelong passion she abandoned because of her addiction. She proudly displays a painting depicting two hummingbirds against a bright blue sky that she recently painted. For Kimberly, the hummingbirds represent new beginnings.

Located at SHN’s General hospital, the RAAM Clinic celebrated its first anniversary on May 1. Since opening its doors last year, the clinic has helped nearly 600 patients – with 98% saying they would recommend RAAM to a friend. If you think RAAM may be right for you, drop by or give us a call.

RAAM clinic

SHN General hospital
3050 Lawrence Ave. E., Scarborough
Crockford Pavilion, Ground floor
Hours: Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, 9 to 11 a.m.
Phone: 416-431-8269
Fax: 416-431-8291
RAAM@shn.ca

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