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

Just Posted

RCMP, search crews hunt for 4-year-old boy missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Skeena Watershed reopened for recreational pink and coho

Four sections and tributaries remain closed

Vanderhoof mayor frustrated over province’s back-and-forth orders over river management

Rio Tinto was asked to suspend their summer temperature management program on Aug 2 and the order was reversed on Aug 8

Skeena-Bulkley Valley candidates react to finding Trudeau broke ethics law

The election campaign is heating up before the writ has even dropped

Traffic collision on Highway 16

Occupants of the car sustained non-life threatening injuries

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

‘It’s just the freedom:’ Paralyzed Broncos player pursuing life on the water

The former Humboldt Broncos goaltender, who started in the net when he was nine, was paralyzed last year

Most Read