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Additional 500 substance-use treatment beds now open in British Columbia

By Ministry of Health.   Apr 04, 2017
VICTORIA - As of March 31, the Province has opened 500 additional substance-use treatment and intervention beds throughout British Columbia, Health Minister Terry Lake announced today.

"We are committed to providing the best supports to help people with substance-use challenges," said Lake. "There is no one-size-fits-all approach to recovery, so we have opened a number of types of beds that work together to create a continuum of care. Each of these new beds represents a chance at recovery."

In 2013, the Ministry of Health, in partnership with the health authorities, set out to create 500 new substance-use beds in recognition that additional substance-use services were needed throughout the province. A provincial steering committee made of representatives from the ministry, regional health authorities, Provincial Health Services Authority and the First Nations Health Authority worked together to guide the implementation of the beds.
Many of the beds were a result of a collaborative effort and thoughtful planning between the health authorities, municipalities, First Nations as well as local non-profit organizations. Of the 500 new substance-use treatment beds created, over 80% were created in partnership with non-profits. In addition to partnering with local non-profits, many beds were developed with other key community providers such as BC Housing.

The following new beds have been opened in each health authority between 2013 and 2017:

  • Fraser Health: 147
  • Interior Health: 85
  • Island Health: 93
  • Northern Health: 30
  • Provincial Health Services Authority: 14
  • Vancouver Coastal Health: 131
    • Total: 500

The distribution of beds across the health authorities varied based on the population needs and targeted areas of improvement in each individual region. The beds were created with key populations in mind (including youth, pregnant women and new mothers, and people with concurrent mental-health and substance-use concerns). More than 16% of the beds were designed to provide culturally safe and appropriate services for Aboriginal people, with many developed in direct partnership with First Nations communities.

"It can be difficult for patients in need of or seeking treatment to find the support necessary for recovery," said Dr. Evan Wood, director of the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use and professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia. "Expanding access to care, and ensuring the care provided meets the needs of that individual, is critical to effectively treating substance use."

In addition to the 500 beds, the Province announced $10 million in January 2017 to provide better supports for long-term treatment and recovery in response to the overdose crisis. This funding will create at least 60 additional intensive residential treatment beds, 20 of which are for youth. It also supports the creation of 50 intensive outpatient treatment spaces, as well as one year of follow up care in the community.
Budget 2017 provided $165 million in additional new funding to targeted mental-health and substance-use investments to help address gaps in the system. The focus is to provide patients and families with better information and ways to navigate the system, and better integration and co-ordination of services throughout the province. The Ministry of Health spends about
$1.45 billion each year in B.C. to support individuals and families in need of mental-health or substance-use supports.

Learn More:

To find region-specific information about substance-use recovery services and treatment, visit your local health authority:
Fraser Health: Mental Health and Substance Use

First Nations Health Authority: Substance Use Prevention and Treatment

Interior Health: Mental Health and Substance Use Services

Island Health: Mental Health and Substance Use Services and Resources

Northern Health: Mental Health and Addictions

Vancouver Coastal Health: Substance Use Services

For further information, visit the following links at the BC Centre for Disease Control: Toward the Heart and Harm Reduction

A backgrounder follows.

Ministry of Health Communications 250 952-1887 (media line)

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect


For Immediate Release 2017HLTH0079-001046
April 4, 2017


Ministry of Health

Substance-use treatment services available in B.C. for adults and youth

British Columbia has a range of substance-use treatment services available throughout the province. The pathway to recovery is different for everyone, and it is important that people receive the right services for their level of need at the time. Substance-use treatment must be responsive to each individual's needs, goals and current context including their family and community.
Substance-use services are accessible where they are needed, in the community, and cover a wide range of needs, including assessment, referral, counselling, social supports, and at-home and day-hospital withdrawal management and opioid agonist treatment.

People access a variety of substance-use services and supports based on individual goals and assessed need by a health-care professional. People access the appropriate treatment based on a variety of factors, such as their age, social connections (e.g., pregnant, parent of young children), health condition, substance of addiction and previous treatment history. People may be referred to one or a combination of treatment options as part of their recovery journey.

As of March 31, 2017, there are 500 additional substance-use treatment beds available in B.C., for a total of more than 2,700 substance-use treatment beds throughout the province.
Click here for a breakdown of the 500 new beds by region: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/500Beds.pdf

Types of publicly funded substance-use treatment beds

  • Supportive Recovery: these are low to moderate, time-limited supports and services in a safe environment for people with substance-use problems. People may go into supportive recovery to prepare to enter residential treatment, as a transitional step after leaving intensive residential treatment to help them reintegrate into the community, or as a longer-term structured environment while preparing to transition into a more stable lifestyle. Activities may include coaching for daily living, community reintegration, vocational and educational planning, participating in mutual aid supports, and some counselling and case management. Individuals access outpatient and other community treatment services and supports.
  • Transitional Services: these are temporary residential settings that provide short- to medium- term medical and clinical supports for individuals requiring stabilization or transition to safe housing. Clinical services such as primary care, medication management as well as diabetes, Hepatitis C and HIV care is available in supported housing or shelters for people with the most complex health needs.
  • Residential Treatment: this is time-limited, live-in intensive treatment (typically 60-90 days) for people with substance-use problems. Treatment includes group and one-on- one counselling, medical consultations, as well as life skills training, family support programs and art therapy.
  • Withdrawal Management: this is a short-term service (up to seven days) that provides medical and clinical support to people withdrawing from substances. Withdrawal management takes place in different settings, including community, hospital (required for alcohol and barbiturates) and home (with clinical team support).
  • Tertiary/Concurrent: These are specialized in-patient services for individuals with the highest complexity of need and the most chronic conditions, and who require more intensive, longer-term treatment, ranging from three to 24 months or longer. Assessment, treatment and support services are offered to individuals who are experiencing any combination of mental-health and substance-use disorders, and/or treatment of medical complications co-occurring with their substance use disorder.
  • Sobering and Assessment: these are safe, short-term (less than 24 hours) places for people under the influence of substances. Monitoring of health is provides as it relates to acute intoxication. When possible, people are connected to other health-care services, such as detox, group therapy and one-on-one outpatient counselling.

Ministry of Health Communications 250 952-1887 (media line)

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect

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