B.C. invests in substance-use treatment system

Journal of Commerce | DCN-JOC News Services | October 14, 2021

VANCOUVER—The Province of British Columbia is investing $132 million over the next three years for treatment and recovery services.

The funding will increase services across all regions of the province to strengthen the full continuum of substance-use treatment and recovery services, including withdrawal management, transition and assessment, treatment and aftercare services, a government release stated.

“When a person living with addiction is ready to take a step toward recovery, we must ensure services are available when and where they need them. We have been busy patching holes where urgently needed over the past four years. Now, through Budget 2021’s historic investment, we are beginning to make true systemic change. B.C.’s $132-million investment in treatment and recovery will result in significant improvements everywhere in the province, making substance-use care more seamless, better integrated and easier to access,” said provincial Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Sheila Malcolmson.

“This investment will enable us to both broaden and strengthen the continuum of care for people accessing treatment for substance-use disorder in our region. Irrespective of where an individual is on their journey to recovery, our services will be further equipped to deliver compassionate and respectful care. As the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the harms associated with the poisoned drug supply, it is a pivotal time to take additional actions to address barriers to accessible quality care,” added Vancouver Coastal Health chief medical health officer Dr. Patricia Daly.

New or enhanced services will be implemented throughout the province, adding more than 130 full-time-equivalent staff and opening approximately 195 new substance-use treatment beds. Precise numbers will be confirmed through request-for-proposals processes, the release stated. Initial withdrawal management projects include a new sobering and assessment centre in Prince George, a new addiction medicine consult team at Burnaby Hospital, new outpatient withdrawal management services in multiple locations throughout the B.C. Interior and additional funding for withdrawal beds at Vancouver Detox.

New transitional and stabilization beds will be made available across Interior Health and substance-use assessment and transition services will be enhanced at Richmond Hospital’s Onsite Detox and at St. Paul’s Hospital in downtown Vancouver.

Two new recovery wellness community centres are planned in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, along with new vocational and occupational therapists for Fraser Health’s Day, Evening and Weekend program.

Enhancing B.C.’s response to the overdose emergency is an integral part of A Pathway to Hope, B.C.’s roadmap for building the comprehensive system of mental health and addictions care British Columbians deserve, the release stated.