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)

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

Lake Babine Nation closure sign
Lake Babine Nation issues COVID numbers update

Urges members to follow provincial health orders

NH representative confirmed that people who received their first dose will be scheduled to receive their second dose within the recommended timeframe.(The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette photo)
Vaccine rollout abruptly halted in Lakes District

Northern Health cites Pfizer shipment delays for the vaccine distribution disruption

This BC Hydro map shows some of the power outages across Northern BC. Many were caused by high winds. (BC Hydro Website)
Power out across much of Northern BC

BC Hydro anticipates some may be without power overnight

Administering naloxone to a person experiencing a benzo-related overdose event won’t help. Naloxone is used to neutralize opioids. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress file photo)
Northern Health warning drug users of potential benzo contamination

The drug does not respond to naloxone, and is being included in street drugs

The B.C. Government increased limited entry hunt (LEH) authorizations of cow/calf moose by 43 animals in 2020 in mountain caribou recovery areas near Revelstoke and Prince George. (Wikipedia Commons)
Cow moose and calf harvest numbers expected by May

No wolves culled yet; cull scheduled for 2021 winter

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Throughout December, RCMP conducted CounterAttack road checks as police worked to keep roads free of impaired drivers. (BLACK PRESS file photo)
‘You can’t make this stuff up’: Stories from the B.C. CounterAttack campaign

Amusing, yes, but a reminder impaired driving affects ability to drive and to make good decisions

(Thesendboys/Instagram)
Video of man doing backflip off Vancouver bridge draws police condemnation

Group says in Instagram story that they ‘don’t do it for the clout’

Inspection of bridge crossing on a B.C. forest service road. (B.C. Forest Practices Board)
B.C. falling behind in maintenance of forest service roads

Auditor finds nearly half of bridges overdue for repair

Most Read