The $40 million has been described by Chief Doug Kelly as helping to provide extra beds that “will create hope, save lives and give people help on their healing journey.” (Black Press File)

$40M to upgrade B.C. First Nations’ addiction and mental health treatment centres

Two new centres to be built, expanded care and renovations to existing facilities planned

In the midst of what is being called a “public health epidemic,” $40 million is being dedicated to upgrade First Nations treatment centres throughout B.C.

It is hoped the money, provided equally by the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) and the provincial government will revitalize First Nations-run treatment centres.

ALSO READ: Cannabis medication provides relief for some pain and epilepsy sufferers

The funding was announced by Grand Chief Doug Kelly, Chair of the First Nations Health Council (FNHC), and Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, at the First Nations Primary Care, Mental Health and Wellness Summit in Vancouver.

“This treatment centre upgrade allows us to upgrade our facilities and upgrade our service delivery in the midst of one of the most urgent public health epidemics in recent memory,” said Kelly. “The extra beds will create hope, save lives and give people help on their healing journey. We must combine traditional healing with the best of western medicine.”

The province and FNHA are contributing $20 million each to build two new urban treatment centres and to renovate others. These centres provide mental health and substance abuse services for First Nations members.

Elders and traditional healers are directly involved in patient care, in First Nations led facilities, working alongside doctors, nurses and addictions specialists. The new and updated centres will also feature programs for women and those who identify as transgender.

ALSO READ: New roadside testing device can’t identify drug impairment says Vancouver lawyer

“I have heard from First Nations across B.C. about the urgent need for culturally safe treatment centres in urban and rural communities to support people on their healing journeys,” said Darcy. “Our partnership with the First Nations Health Authority is about ensuring that First Nations are in the driver’s seat with the resources to support mental health and wellness.”

As well as this funding, $30 million was announced by the Government of Canada, B.C. and the FNHC in May 2018, last year, to support Nation-based approaches to the design and delivery of mental health and wellness services.

“This is the first significant investment in First Nations treatment centres for a generation,” said M. Colleen Erickson, chair, FNHA Board of Directors. “These upgrades are critical to the health and wellness of our communities, especially in the midst of the opioid epidemic. The trauma of colonialism continues to affect us deeply, and these centres are a big part of the solution.”

ALSO READ: Sidney Museum’s Chief Dan George exhibition sees surge of interest

The shifting sands of drug abuse, have impacted the type of care required, and the money is seen as providing facilities able to meet the current needs of patients.

“With the onset of the opioid crisis, our programming model has had to change,” said Marlene Isaac, Executive Director, Round Lake Alcohol and Drug Treatment Centre. “Individuals with concurrent addictions and/or long-time drug use require longer treatment and recovery programs. Fentanyl and carfentanyl may make it unsafe for them to go home after just five or six weeks of treatment. Therefore, we now offer a 12-week treatment program. The additional time allows us to offer a much more intensive program.”



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

Tsilhqot’in chief helps lead Indigenous cultural and historical training at RBC Royal Bank

Williams Lake staff undergo training by Chief Joe Alphonse and Chastity Davis

Williams Lake RCMP arrest suspects on Broadway Avenue

The incident promoted swift response from police

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

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

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Most Read