Traverse, a new and unique substance abuse treatment residence for youth, is just about ready to open. It was first announced in 2018, and will be the first of its kind in the Fraser Health region. It has 20 beds, recreational areas and a team of health professionals. Aug. 6, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Traverse, a new and unique substance abuse treatment residence for youth, is just about ready to open. It was first announced in 2018, and will be the first of its kind in the Fraser Health region. It has 20 beds, recreational areas and a team of health professionals. Aug. 6, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

B.C. announces multi-year plan to double treatment beds for youth with addiction

This will bring the total number of new beds specific to those 12 to 24 years old to 247 province-wide

The province has pledged to create 123 new treatment beds for young British Columbians struggling with drug use as part of its latest response to the ongoing opioid crisis which has worsened during COVID-19.

During a news conference Thursday (Aug. 13) Addictions Minister Judy Darcy said the spaces would include detox, withdrawal management and substance-use treatment services.

The beds will take an estimated two to three years to fully implement, with the first round expected to be created in March of next year.

“For too long, young people and their families have faced long waits for treatment and a fragmented mental health and addictions system,” Darcy told reporters.

“Especially in these challenging times, young people shouldn’t have to wait for care.”

Once fully constructed, the $36-million initiative will bring the total number of new beds specific to those 12 to 24 years old to 247 across the province.

ALSO READ: Nearly 6 people died from overdoses each day in June as B.C. sees continued spike

Brody Van Velze, who has been sober for four years, told reporters that his treatment was only possible because he was able to access treatment at Last Door, a centre in New Westminster.

“You can’t take an opportunity that you aren’t given,” he said. “Since the age of 14, I have struggled with substance abuse. During my addiction my life was filled with broken relationships, no respect for others or myself, and poor decisions.”

The pandemic has exacerbated B.C.’s first provincial health emergency, the overdose crisis, with death tolls reaching record numbers in May and June do to an increasingly toxic drug supply. Statistics for the number of lives lost to fatal overdoses in July are expected in coming weeks.

ALSO READ: B.C. paramedics responded to a record-breaking 2,700 overdose calls in July

The new beds mark the first funding into youth treatment spaces by the NDP government since 2017. Over the last three years, prior to this announcement, the province had added 20 new beds to the existing 104.

Earlier this year, the province tried to pass legislation which would allow youth under the age of 19 to be admitted into hospital care for up to 48 hours after suffering from an overdose. Many groups – including the First Nations Health Authority – were quick to raise concerns of leaving room for further trauma.

The legislation, known as bill 22, has been put on hold as staff conduct a further review.

Earlier this month, B.C. announced $10.5 million in additional funding to open 17 new supervised consumption sites and 12 inhalation sites, which allow for users to safely administer their drugs while serving as a form of harm reduction.

ALSO READ: Fractured mental health services leave community to fill gaps


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

opioids

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Prolific offender Jonathan David Olson (left) and Brodie Tyrel Robinson, both of Chilliwack, were convicted of several offences in BC Supreme Court in August 2019 in connection to a crime spree on the Canada Day long weekend in 2017.
Chilliwack gangster sentenced to 11.5 years in prison for 2017 crime spree

Jonathan Olson involved in shooting a fellow crime associate in the head

Pete Ryan, known all over the world for his chainsaw carvings, died on Friday, Jan. 8. He was 70 years old. (Contributed Photo/Dignity Memorial)
Iconic Hope chainsaw carver Pete Ryan has passed away

Ryan is a founding member of Hope’s famous chainsaw carving community

Screenshot from video.
2 students arrested in assault of transgender girl at Mission middle school

Mother said daughter was targeted because of how she identifies

(THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Seabird Island to receive COVID-19 vaccine in the coming weeks

All members 18 years and older will be eligible to be vaccinated

Gabe Choi, a corrections officer, was killed in a highway crash by a car going the wrong way on Highway 1. (GoFundMe)
B.C.’s police watchdog looking for witnesses to Chilliwack crash that killed Gabe Choi

Choi was killed in a two-vehicle collision caused by a car going the wrong way on Highway 1

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. find its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s. (Canadian Press file)
Full parole granted to former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse of boys

Alan Davidson convicted of abusing boys in B.C. and Saskatchewan in late ’70s, early ’90s

Letisha Reimer died Nov. 1, 2016 after being stabbed at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
No evidence that killer was in ‘psychotic state’ during Abbotsford school stabbing: Crown

Second day of closing arguments at ‘not criminally responsible’ hearing for Gabriel Klein

The first COVID-19 vaccine arrives in B.C. in temperature-controlled containers, Dec. 13, 2020. (B.C. government)
More vaccine arrives as B.C. struggles with remote COVID-19 cases

Long-term care homes remain focus for public health

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in 60 B.C. First Nations by next week

B.C. has allocated 25,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to First Nations for distribution by the end of February

Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone questions the NDP government in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 25, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Todd Stone says he’s not running for B.C. Liberal leadership

Kamloops MLA was widely viewed as a front-runner

Wireless voice and data services are out for those on Telus as of Thursday (Jan. 14) afternoon across Western Canada, Telus Support said in a recent Tweet. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATE: Telus services restored across Western Canada

Telus said they are monitoring the situation to ensure connections remain stable

Constable Ken Jaques broke a window and crawled into a home to rescue an elderly man who had be laying on the floor for days. Jaques was the officer who provided oversight for the 2020 Remembrance Day services and is shown here in a picture with his son. Photo Andrea DeMeer
Senior who fell and spent days lying on floor of home saved by Princeton cop

He broke the glass and crawled into the house, while calling for assistance from BC Ambulance

Luke Marston works on the seawolf mask for Canucks goalie Braden Holtby. (Mike Wavrecan photo)
B.C. Coast Salish artist designs new mask for Canucks goalie

Braden Holtby’s new mask features artwork by Luke Marston inspired by the legend of the seawolf

Most Read