B.C. building historic treatment, recovery services for people struggling with addiction

PEOPLE struggling with mental health and addiction will have access to more treatment and recovery beds, along with community-based aftercare services through new historic investments through Budget 2023.

“It’s essential that people who struggle with mental health and addiction can find and stay connected to the care they need quickly,” said Premier David Eby on Thursday. “Budget 2023 is the biggest investment in our province’s history to improve access to mental-health supports, so that when people ask for help or need care, help is available.”

Budget 2023 sets out more than $1 billion in new funding over the next three years to ensure that people living with mental health or addiction can find and stay connected to the care they need. As part of this funding, to support people struggling with addiction and into recovery, the Province is investing $586 million into the health-care system to add more treatment and recovery services, including 195 treatment and recovery beds throughout B.C.

In addition, using the successful Red Fish Healing Centre as a model, supports for people with concurrent mental-health and addiction challenges will be expanded to regional locations throughout the province.

“When someone makes the brave decision to reach out for help, it’s vital the right services are in place to meet them,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Our government has been building a mental-health and addictions system of care from the ground up. Because there is more to do, Budget 2023 continues this work with a major expansion to treatment and recovery services that will support people along their journey to wellness.”

Budget 2023 will help people receive the treatment and recovery care they need, when they need it, through:

* 100 new publicly funded community adult substance-use treatment and recovery beds with no fees for British Columbians;

* a new model of seamless care to support people through their entire recovery journey with 95 beds, with plans to expand this model to three more sites in B.C.;

* expanding the Red Fish Healing Centre model of care across the province so more people have access to these services closer to home;

* new aftercare services at four new community recovery sites with dedicated workers to make sure people continue to receive the support they need when they leave a treatment facility;

* a new $171-million investment fund for Indigenous-led treatment, recovery and aftercare services; and

* increasing services for young people, including crisis supports, culturally safe wraparound services, enhanced transition services and improved emergency room hospital-based care and discharge planning.

Since 2017, government has been building a continuum of care for mental-health and substance-use services, including adding more than 360 new adult and youth substance-use treatment beds, doubling the number of clinicians prescribing medication assisted treatment and ending the shame and stigma associated with substance use to connect them to life-saving services.

Dr. Seonaid Nolan, division head, Providence Health Care’s Interdepartmental Division of Addiction Medicine, clinician scientist, BC Centre on Substance Use, said: “We have an opportunity to transform how addiction care is delivered in this province. This investment means more British Columbians will be able to access services when they need it no matter where they are, and will help to close the gaps that currently exist between harm reduction, detox, treatment and recovery. As an addiction medicine physician, I am hopeful this approach will help me provide the evidence-based care that will lead to better outcomes for people who use substances, for their families that care for them and for the communities they live in.”

Fiona Dalton, President and CEO, Providence Health Care, said: “The Premier’s announcement today is a major step forward in helping close gaps in care for patients who seek help for their substance use. We need to be able to provide treatment and recovery for patients when they want and need it most – providing a responsive and integrated system of care, which seamlessly supports patients through treatment and recovery. So often there is only a tiny window of opportunity to respond to patients when they ask for help. This announcement will enable us to meet this need and provide the life-saving treatment and recovery services which patients deserve.”



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