New services will support people living with substance-use challenges

October 4, 2021 at 3:46 pm  BC, News, Politics

People living with substance-use challenges will soon benefit from expanded supports and services on central Vancouver Island.

Island Health issued three requests for proposals (RFPs) seeking service providers to deliver new programs for people living with substance-use challenges. Funding for the new services is part of the Government of B.C.’s historic $500-million investment in Budget 2021 focused on building a comprehensive system of mental health and addictions care that people in British Columbia need.

“When people come forward for help with substance use, we want health care for them without delay,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and MLA for Nanaimo. “These new services will help transform addictions treatment and recovery care on central Vancouver Island where it is urgently needed.”

In three separate RFPs, Island Health is seeking service providers to deliver at least six sobering and assessment beds in Tofino and Ucluelet, up to eight supportive recovery beds in Oceanside, and eight sobering and assessment beds in Nanaimo. Four of the Nanaimo beds will be new to the community. These services will increase the access points for support and treatment for people living with substance use.

“These new programs will improve access for people living with substance use and enhance the range of services and treatments to support their personal path to wellness,” said Leah Hollins, board chair, Island Health. “We’re grateful to the communities, individuals and organizations who have informed and supported us throughout this process. Your input has been invaluable.”

The RFPs were developed by Island Health through consultation with key community stakeholders in summer 2021. Stakeholders provided input on items such as access, needs, service models, clinical pathways, cultural safety and community connections. The RFPs will close on Nov. 2, 2021, with services anticipated to be in place by March 31, 2022. 

“I’m grateful to everyone who participated in the engagement process, to make sure services meet the needs of their communities and municipalities,” said Adam Walker, MLA for Parksville-Qualicum. “These new services will help people get mental health and substance use support close to home.”

The RFPs are available online: https://www.bcbid.gov.bc.ca/

Quick Facts:

  • A Pathway to Hope is the B.C. government’s three-year plan to address priority needs across four areas:
    • supporting Indigenous-led solutions;
    • improving wellness for children, youth and young adults;
    • saving lives through better substance use care; and
    • improving access to quality care overall.
  • Sobering and assessment spaces allow stays up to 23 hours per day for people who benefit from a safe, supported service. Services include assessment, supports, food and laundry.
  • Supportive recovery beds allow residential stays in a substance-free environment for up to 90 days. Services include coaching, community reintegration, counselling and case management.


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