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

Spending $500K on policing transition during pandemic a ‘waste,’ Surrey council hears

City council on a five-to-four vote authorized $500K for Surrey Police Department IT upgrades

Out On Patrol non-profit launched by LGBTQ2S+ law enforcement members in B.C.

Surrey-based RCMP officer among board members of new organization

Surrey restaurants to benefit from city’s patio plan

Pilot program will permit the use of temporary outdoor areas. It’s meant to be enacted fast, for the summer months

Humbled by hit song ‘Pillow Talkin,’ Surrey musician aims to build on humanitarian work

‘People are still trying to figure out who the heck I am,’ Tyler Joe Miller says

White Rock set to reopen promenade, increase waterfront parking

Existing fencing to be left in place in case restrictions need to be reimposed

B.C. records no new COVID-19 deaths for the first time in weeks

Good news comes despite 11 new test-positive cases in B.C. in the past 24 hours

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

BC Corrections to expand list of eligible offenders for early release during pandemic

Non-violent offenders are being considered for early release through risk assessment process

Officials looking for answers after Abbotsford football star found dead in Sask. lake

Saskatchewan Health Authority looking into circumstances surrounding Samwel Uko’s hospital visit

Fraser Valley driver featured on ‘Highway Thru Hell’ TV show dies

Monkhouse died Sunday night of a heartattack, Jamie Davis towing confirmed

B.C. visitor centres get help with COVID-19 prevention measures

Destination B.C. gearing up for local, in-province tourism

36 soldiers test positive for COVID-19 after working in Ontario, Quebec care homes

Nearly 1,700 military members are working in long-term care homes overwhelmed by COVID-19

Most Read