Province adds more options for treatment, recovery

December 7, 2021 at 8:28 am  BC, News, Politics

People living in British Columbia now have more access to publicly funded substance-use treatment and recovery services as 105 newly funded beds are now fully operational.

These beds are in addition to the 105 beds recently opened at the Red Fish Healing Centre and the 10 new specialized addiction treatment beds at Phoenix Society in Surrey. They are also in addition to the historic $132-million investment government announced this fall to build new treatment and recovery services throughout the province.

“For too long, treatment and supportive recovery services were neglected in British Columbia, leaving many people to suffer from a fragmented system of care,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Our government has made historic investments to open new publicly funded substance-use treatment and recovery beds to ensure that quality care is accessible to everyone – no matter the size of their pocketbook.”

In 2020, the Government of B.C. announced an investment in 50 to 70 publicly funded treatment and recovery beds. By finding efficiencies, the Province has exceeded this goal, and has now opened 105 beds across 14 organizations. Of the 105 beds, 47 are new spaces in existing treatment and recovery organizations. The remaining beds were converted from private-pay beds to fully funded public spaces.

Treatment and recovery beds are one vital part of B.C.’s response to the poisoned drug crisis. The Province is also investing in the expansion of harm reduction and medication-assisted treatment programs, providing a prescribed safer drug supply and applying to Health Canada for the decriminalization of possession of small amounts of illicit drugs for personal use.

“The 105 beds located in communities throughout the province are a tangible commitment to the health and wellness of British Columbians,” said Jonny Morris, CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division. “Substance-use treatment and recovery support reach beyond just a bed, but are an investment in communities, neighbourhoods and families. We’re grateful to be working with the Province to realize the vision of improved access to critical mental health and addictions care.”

These beds help address long-standing service gaps for Indigenous Peoples, women, rural and remote communities, and people transitioning from the corrections system. They are already making a difference. In the past quarter, 22% of all referrals were self-referrals or referrals from First Nations Bands and Friendship Centres.

In addition, these services help improve access for people with other potential barriers to services, such as people with mobility issues, and new and expectant mothers attending the program with their children.

Enhancing B.C.’s response to the overdose crisis is an integral part of A Pathway to Hope, B.C.’s roadmap for building a comprehensive system of mental health and addictions care.

Quotes:

Grace Lore, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity –

“Several of these programs directly support women, which means better supports for their whole families. In many communities, a lack of treatment and recovery services for women has meant travel away from children and community, which is something this new funding will help address.” 

Melanie Mark, MLA for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant –

“The development of more substance-use treatment and recovery programs has been a major call to action from peers, advocates and front-line heroes in the Downtown Eastside community. These 34 newly funded beds available to Vancouver residents will give people the dignity they deserve close to home on their journey toward recovery.”

John Horn, executive director, Nanaimo Region John Howard Society –

“The beds funded under this initiative are making a difference to our community; changing many individual lives adds up to a collective change that can be seen and felt by everyone. We know that the work being done in the services we provide literally saves lives, and we are grateful for the opportunity to be a part of that.”

Heather Ney, executive director, Comox Valley Transition Society –

“The addition of the beds has made a huge difference for women who are connected with and supported by services other than health authority mental health and substance use offices. For instance, in the past if there was a woman who was interested in returning to the community from a corrections facility and enter into supportive recovery, they would have had to return to community for a specified period of time, connect with the health authority and begin the process of being referred to supportive recovery. This process takes months and puts the recovery time they have had while incarcerated at risk. Now women can be referred directly into a publicly funded bed at Amethyst House from corrections.”

Jerome Abraham, executive director, Penticton Recovery Resource Society –

“Services that provide access to disproportionally and traditionally unserved or underserved participants such as Indigenous and rural populations are vitally important. There is a much higher prevalence (per capita) of overdose in Indigenous persons due to unmitigated generational trauma, colonialism and systematic racism. Rural communities in our region have experienced overdose and addiction rates that are typically on par with larger centres but traditionally received little or no government support for recovery or support services. The guaranteed funding has allowed us to focus fully on client care rather than how to subsidize the cost of the beds and we’ve witnessed better outcomes, such as a nearly 50% increase in clients completing their initial 90-day treatment in the six-month period since this funding began.”

Roger Prince, former client, 333 Recovery Homes –

“Treatment has given me hope when I had none. I am now able to be a contributing member of society. I have the confidence to seek employment and keep that job. I am a father of four, and now feel like I have the tools to break the cycle of addiction that runs in my family. I now realize that to keep my sobriety I must help others suffering from addiction and be of service to my community. When a person is desperately looking for help, it should be readily available, no matter where you’re from or how much money you make. If I had been unable to find help when I was looking, I may have slipped back into the darkness of addiction and may have never found another opportunity for treatment, or died.”

Quick Facts:

  • The $13 million to support the 105 beds over three years is being administered through the Canadian Mental Health Association in consultation with the Province and regional health authorities.
  • Service providers include not-for-profit and private service providers in every health authority providing bed-based treatment and recovery services, including access to medication-assisted treatment.
  • Organizations receiving funding operate in accordance with legislation and are registered or licensed with the Community Care and Assisted Living Act.

Learn More:

A Pathway to Hope: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BCMentalHealthRoadmap_2019.pdf

A Pathway to Hope progress report:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/government/ministries-organizations/ministries/mental-health-addictions/pathway_to_hope_update_report_final.pdf

For a backgrounder with information on the organizations receiving funding: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Backgrounder_105_beds.pdf

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