NORTH VANCOUVER (August 8, 2019) – BC Liberal Critic for Mental Health and Addictions MLA Jane Thornthwaite is calling on John Horgan and the NDP to properly fund treatment beds to help those struggling with substance use to access recovery resources in British Columbia.
“In all the discussion about tackling the opioid crisis, no one is talking about affordable access to treatment beds and recovery facilities,” said Thornthwaite. “There are recovery beds available across the province but John Horgan and the NDP refuse to fund them if they only provide abstinence-based recovery. Overcoming the overdose crisis will take much more than a one-size-fits-all approach, and the NDP must fund programs that include a complete continuum of care including harm reduction, detox, mental health support and trauma informed care.”
In 2018, the BC Centre on Substance Use published a comprehensive report on the benefits of recovery and provided recommendations to government such as pushing for a full continuum of care from harm reduction to long-term recovery-oriented, abstinence-based interventions, support and environments. This included re-examining per diem rates for treatment and recovery services to improve outcomes in underserved and vulnerable populations. The province has yet to implement any of these recommendations.
In the face of government inaction, people such as Kayla Hewett, who is seeking trauma-informed abstinence-based addiction treatment at Westminster House, a residential treatment center providing youth and adult women with recovery from substance use, are suffering. Susan Hogarth from Westminster House has voiced outrage with the government’s mishandling of Hewett’s case.
“Here is a child in desperate need of help. A family ripped apart by addiction and the solution MCFD is offering is to go to Cyrus Center where she can continue to use?” said Hogarth. “How is it okay for our youth to be told the only solution is a shelter that is not safe for those who want to recover to put their family and life back together?”
Due to the lack of support from MCFD, Westminster House has been forced to crowdfund over $9,000 to pay for Kayla’s treatment.
“John Horgan and the NDP have turned their backs on Kayla, letting her slip through the cracks with untold consequences,” added Thornthwaite. “Our most vulnerable youth should not be forced to launch a KickStarter or GoFundMe page online to escape opioid addiction.”
“Thanks to community help, Kayla has been at Westminster House for 25 days now and is the best she has ever been,” commented Krista Hewett, Kayla’s mother. “Her infant son deserves to have a clean and sober mother and her sister has regained a bond that I’ve never seen thanks to the care she is currently receiving. I fear that if my daughter leaves Westminster House, she will die. There is simply nowhere else to keep her alive and access the help she so desperately needs.”
“The NDP government is focusing almost exclusively on harm reduction, which is only part of the solution, while ignoring the need for a full spectrum of care while this crisis is claiming lives every day,” concluded Thornthwaite. “John Horgan and the NDP must do better, for Kayla, and everyone struggling with substance use throughout our province.”