- The Westshore
- View Royal treatment centre expansion announced for the summer
View Royal treatment centre expansion announced for the summer
Government of BC adding 180 beds to aid addiction across the province
The Government of BC is aiding addiction prevention and recovery after announcing a record expansion of treatment options on Jan. 25. The province aims to add 180 publicly-funded treatment and recovery beds to centres that are free of charge and closer to home for patients. The number of beds announced is nearly double the originally promised amount.
View Royal gets more attention
Included in the list of centres is Our Place Society’s New Roads Therapeutic Recovery Community in View Royal, which will be adding 20 additional beds to their facility this summer for women to use.
The facility, which was a former youth detention centre, will cater to women who have been unhoused, have mental health concerns or have had interactions with the criminal justice system. The program will be run like the men’s program, which currently has 47 beds for men who take part in a nine- to 24-month program; although they operate similarly, Our Place Society will take into account the subtle differences women face when it comes to escaping dangerous situations.
“The opportunity to do this for women is just phenomenal because there isn’t any long-term treatment for women on the Island,” said Cheryl Diebel, the centre director. “A lot of the women will already be disconnected from their family because of their addiction, and if you move them off the Island, it’s a further disconnection.”
There were no long-term recovery options on the Island before the province made the announcement, which would mean any women facing addiction would have to leave their homes and sometimes families behind. Diebel says she was glad for the announcement, and says there is a lot of support for the new centre among the recovery community, especially the men who will often talk about their significant others suffering from the same situation.
“They talk about their moms, their girlfriends, or sisters who have addiction, so for them, they’re committed to this too,” says Diebel. “So it’s full circle.”
Greater Victoria included in highest toxic drug deaths
The province’s announcement came at an important time, after reports came out of more than 2,500 deaths in BC last year as a result of the toxic drug crisis; 2023 marked the worst year since recording began. The number of deceased increased by 5% from the previous record-breaking year of 2022, with an average of nearly seven people dying each day. The Island saw 470 deaths, with 145 occurring in Greater Victoria, which was one of the areas with the highest death count.
Lisa Lapointe. Photo: Province of BC/ Flickr
Lisa Lapointe, the province’s chief coroner who is planning to retire next month, says that it has been difficult to watch the lack of change needed to reduce the crisis at hand; Lapointe pushed recommendations from this fall’s death review panel, but the province ultimately rejected the recommendations shortly after the report was released.
Doubling the beds and budget
Despite the province disagreeing with recommendations from the death review panel, it is welcome news that they opted to add more bed availability at treatment centres to aid in addiction recovery.
“People need to be able to access treatment and recovery services close to where they live, without worrying about how to pay for it,” said Premier David Eby. “This expansion nearly doubles the number of publicly funded treatment and recovery beds that we committed to, so people get the care and treatment they need, no matter how many times it takes.”
Nearly 100 of the beds are open in several communities, with the remainder expected to launch in summer. The expansion plan almost doubles the commitment of the province’s 2023 budget and number of beds; the plan will be a provincial investment of $73 million over three years to fund these beds, and extends the operations of 105 existing Canadian Mental Health Association administered beds to the end of 2027. The province hopes the availability will improve access to free addiction treatment and services include counselling, medication management and live-in facilities to support clients throughout their recovery journey.