Traverse, a new and unique substance abuse treatment residence for youth, is just about ready to open. It was first announced in 2018, and will be the first of its kind in the Fraser Health region. It has 20 beds, recreational areas and a team of health professionals. Aug. 6, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

B.C. announces multi-year plan to double treatment beds for youth with addiction

This will bring the total number of new beds specific to those 12 to 24 years old to 247 province-wide

The province has pledged to create 123 new treatment beds for young British Columbians struggling with drug use as part of its latest response to the ongoing opioid crisis which has worsened during COVID-19.

During a news conference Thursday (Aug. 13) Addictions Minister Judy Darcy said the spaces would include detox, withdrawal management and substance-use treatment services.

The beds will take an estimated two to three years to fully implement, with the first round expected to be created in March of next year.

“For too long, young people and their families have faced long waits for treatment and a fragmented mental health and addictions system,” Darcy told reporters.

“Especially in these challenging times, young people shouldn’t have to wait for care.”

Once fully constructed, the $36-million initiative will bring the total number of new beds specific to those 12 to 24 years old to 247 across the province.

ALSO READ: Nearly 6 people died from overdoses each day in June as B.C. sees continued spike

Brody Van Velze, who has been sober for four years, told reporters that his treatment was only possible because he was able to access treatment at Last Door, a centre in New Westminster.

“You can’t take an opportunity that you aren’t given,” he said. “Since the age of 14, I have struggled with substance abuse. During my addiction my life was filled with broken relationships, no respect for others or myself, and poor decisions.”

The pandemic has exacerbated B.C.’s first provincial health emergency, the overdose crisis, with death tolls reaching record numbers in May and June do to an increasingly toxic drug supply. Statistics for the number of lives lost to fatal overdoses in July are expected in coming weeks.

ALSO READ: B.C. paramedics responded to a record-breaking 2,700 overdose calls in July

The new beds mark the first funding into youth treatment spaces by the NDP government since 2017. Over the last three years, prior to this announcement, the province had added 20 new beds to the existing 104.

Earlier this year, the province tried to pass legislation which would allow youth under the age of 19 to be admitted into hospital care for up to 48 hours after suffering from an overdose. Many groups – including the First Nations Health Authority – were quick to raise concerns of leaving room for further trauma.

The legislation, known as bill 22, has been put on hold as staff conduct a further review.

Earlier this month, B.C. announced $10.5 million in additional funding to open 17 new supervised consumption sites and 12 inhalation sites, which allow for users to safely administer their drugs while serving as a form of harm reduction.

ALSO READ: Fractured mental health services leave community to fill gaps


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

opioids

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Local businesses feeling the effects of COVID-19

Some have adjusted their business models; others won’t suvive another year if COVID continues in 2021

Iskwew Air brings some love to Bella Coola

The Indigenous, female-owned airline touched down in Bella Coola on Sept. 29

B.C. salmon farms challenge activists’ demands for site closures

News reporting also unfair, inaccurate and distorted

Nuxalk Radio film wins big at Vancouver International Film Festival

The film won the Sea to Sky award, a $20,000 cash prize awarded by Telus

No plans to discontinue bus service, says Pacific Coastal

The company will continue to provide transfers to Anahim Lake on weather days

B.C. counts 125 new COVID-19 cases, up to 1,284 active

No new deaths or health care facility outbreaks

Costs climb to more than $100K for BC SPCA to care for animals in B.C. farm seizure

Eight puppies, of the 97 animals seized have now died from parvovirus enteritis

B.C. VOTES 2020: Wilkinson to stop 24-hour camping in city parks

Ban on ‘unsafe roadside panhandling’ to be enforced

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Lessons from a pandemic: How to design a nursing home that’s safe and love-filled

A look at how one care home is battling the pandemic with the social needs of the elderly in their care

B.C. salmon farm opponents demand answers from DFO

First Nations, conservation groups dismayed by omission of sea lice in risk assessments

Winter tires, chains now mandatory along most B.C. highways

Drivers without the proper winter tires – which must also be in good condition – can be fined $109

Health Canada green-lights rapid COVID-19 test

Health Canada approved the BCube test from Hyris Ltd. in the United Kingdom Sept. 23

Most Read