IHA to build Kootenay rehab and detox facility

Cheryl Dowden of ANKORS is pleased about the IHA’s recent announcement of a new addiction recovery facility in the Kootenay Boundary.

Cheryl Dowden of ANKORS is pleased about the Interior Health Authority's recent announcement of a new addiction recovery facility in the Kootenay Boundary.

The Interior Health Authority will open 16 substance use treatment beds in the Kootenay Boundary next year.

The contract will be awarded this summer and the facility is expected to be ready by the summer of 2017, according to Chris Huston, the IHA’s mental health and substance abuse adminstrator. He says the facility will fill an important gap.

“This is something that we have not provided in the area before,” Huston said.

The exact location of the facility is not yet known.

Cheryl Dowden, executive director of ANKORS, says the announcement is good news because currently people have to go to Kamloops, Kelowna, or the Lower Mainland for treatment.

“I am thrilled to hear these beds are coming to our region,” she said. “For people who want to go through detox and treatment there have been so many challenges. So having detox and treatment available closer to home is huge.”

ANKORS provides a variety of harm-reduction and education services related to sexual health, drug use, addiction and HIV.

A private company will run the planned facility under contract to the IHA. It will have eight support recovery beds and eight withdrawal management beds.

Withdrawal management

The withdrawal beds are a form of short term acute care commonly known as detox.

“If you think of the substance use as a continuum,” Huston says, “the beginning is withdrawal. Someone is actively using to the point where substance misuse is taking up a great part of their life and if they stopped they could experience life-threatening symptoms. So we provide a place with physician and professional nursing support to allow them to withdraw safely with a medication managed process.”

He said withdrawal management is a short term process, usually five to seven days.

“For some it is the beginning of change, but for others it is just a break. They may be so medically compromised that if they stopped the substance abuse for a period of time, the medical benefit [of the break] could be significant for them, even without a commitment to stop using in the future. But for some people this initiates the supports that will allow them to make a profound change in their lives, curbing or abstaining from substance abuse.”

Recovery beds

The eight recovery beds, Huston says, are for longer term treatment from one to six months and are for people who want to discontinue substance use, “but who are not feeling able or comfortable to do that in their home setting in their family or community, so a support recovery bed is a place with professional support that would help them maintain their goal of recovery.”

The treatment is residential the patient will live in a small apartment in the facility.

The service will be staffed with life skills support workers trained to work in substance abuse and mental health. Also during their stay, patients will be in contact with a variety of other outside supports for both their physical and mental health.

“You would be committing to a health care plan of recovery,” Huston says, “and having somebody check in with you to support recovery and maintain your health care goals.”

Provincial program

The facility will be part of a larger program of 73 beds to be introduced across the health authority, including four support beds to be provided by an aboriginal organization in an as-yet-unknown location.

Dowden says the new programs will remove a significant barrier.

“We are standing in the needle exchange and someone says, ‘I am really tired of this, I want to pack it in,’ and we have that conversation around detox and treatment, and we see the barriers and the wait times, and people get frustrated and discouraged.”

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

Pacific Insight to lay off part of workforce

The company says it is transferring automotive production to its Mexico facility

Black belt tests on this week at Kootenay Martial Arts

Grandmaster Brenda Sell returns to assist in testing

UPDATED: Four Nelson marijuana dispensaries to remain open after legalization

Nelson’s police chief has no plans to close them down

Nelson candidates debate climate change at forum

Mayoral and council candidates had the chance to speak on five fictional resolutions

VIDEO: Candidates at Nelson election forum

Mayoral candidates joined 18 council candidates for an evening of very short answers

Jagmeet Singh says marijuana pardons are not enough

Trudeau government will streamline pardon process for Canadians convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the past

BC Ferries begins taking debit in two-month pilot project

Company is giving customers option to use Interac on two-month trial on select vessels

Caregivers banned from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care: MCFD

Ministry has limited cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

Province says new strains will become available in the coming months

Only 40% of B.C. car dealerships have electric cars available: report

Researchers found buyers frustrated at the lack of options

VIDEO: Millionaire Lottery returns to give back and win big

Since 1996, Millionaire Lottery has raised $52 million for the VGH+UBC Hospital Foundation

Baby boomer buba shares heartfelt novel with Okanagan audience

Pauline Daniel will be at Vernon’s Bookland and library Oct. 20

Most Read