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10 new publicly-funded treatment beds now available in Port Alberni

Alberni Valley Times - 10/27/2023

People struggling with substance use addictions in Port Alberni now have access to five more publicly-funded treatment beds.

B.C.'s mental health minister announced them, along with 3o others throughout Vancouver Island, on Thursday (Oct. 26). Jennifer Whiteside said they've been rolling out since last spring.

"There are many paths to addiction and we need there to be many pathways out as well," she said.

The 10 Port Alberni beds are Indigenous-focused and available at Kackaamin Family Development Centre. Another 15 beds are at Cedars Recovery in Cobble Hill, 10 beds are at Edgewood Treatment Centre in Nanaimo and five beds are at Homewood Ravensview in North Saanich

Whiteside said once people are admitted to one of the centres, they will get to stay for 50 to 90 days, before getting discharged and connected to a year-long after care program. She acknowledged the 40 new beds won't be enough to cover everyone seeking treatment, though. Whiteside wouldn't provide a specific number of how many people are in need, but said Island Health has an ongoing wait list.

"We are in the depths of a real crisis in our province."

More than 1,600 people died from the toxic drug supply in B.C. this year, up until the end of August. Over 300 of those deaths were on Vancouver Island.

Brian Coyle, who stayed at Cedars Recovery and is three years clean, said being given a treatment bed was like a lifeline.

"I was homeless, hopeless, I didn't really feel that I was going to be able to get better. And I'm glad that I took that leap into recovery to give myself a chance," he said, speaking at the provincial announcement on Thursday.

He noted how difficult it is for people stuck on a wait list for weeks or months to hold out hope, and said while the 40 beds aren't enough to help everyone, they will make a difference for some people.