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 Skeena candidates for the Oct. 24 snap election

Current BC Liberal MLA Ellis Ross will be running again, as will Nicole Halbauer for BC NDP

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

What is the future of transportation in Terrace?

Active transportation, transit, road networks to play a big part in the coming years

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

Terrace firefighters heading south to help battle wildfires in Oregon

Over 200 B.C. firefighting personnel will assist in the U.S.

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving Mission RCMP cell, police say; family has doubts

B.C. unveils new cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers

Government did not say how it will define small producers, but says nurseries will be included in the policy

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Most Read