March 09, 2015 - 1:22 PM
PENTICTON - The closing of Portage’s youth treatment centre near Keremeos last week eliminated an important treatment facility for addicted Canadian youth, says an addiction specialist and certified interventionist.
The Crossing, a residential rehabilitation centre for addicted adolescents between the ages of 14 - 18, closed suddenly last week due to a funding disagreement with the province.
Patricia M. Pike, Addiction Specialist and Certified Interventionist with Can Am Intervention Services, said even prior to The Crossing’s closure it was difficult to place addicted youth in Canada.
“Even for people who could afford it, it was difficult. There are virtually no treatment programs for youth in Canada, and with Portage closing in B.C., there’s only the Last Door Youth Program in New Westminster,” she says.
Pike says the province made recent changes to policy in the last couple of weeks to allow out of province residents into B.C. facilities, but “you have to go through different kinds of angles to do it."
Pike has experience intervening and placing addicted teens in both Canada and the U.S., where she operates an office out of San Francisco. She has worked in the field of addiction for 22 years, and says there are “tons" of treatment programs in the U.S. for addicted youth, with no state barriers.
A recent intervention of Pike’s was seriously affected by The Crossing’s closure. She says a Maple Ridge family with an 18 year old young adult suffering from fentanyl addiction asked her to help them get the youth treatment. She managed to get the youth to consent to enrolment in the Portage program in Keremeos and sent the application in.
“I sent the application, jumped through all the hoops, and waited and waited. I was constantly in touch with Portage, who finally told me they were waiting to get their license," Pike says. "The youth was supposed to enter the program around the end of January. That’s when I found out there was a freeze on beds, and no more residents were being accepted. I didn’t realize there were funding issues, too.”
She says the youth who was supposed to enter the program has relapsed 10 times since the end of January. He and his family were disappointed by the turn of events.
“He had everyone supporting him. He’s in detox again and I don’t know what we’re going to do when he gets out,” Pike says.
Her role as intervenor is made very difficult in Canada, because there is nowhere to send addicted youth, she says.
“For those with no funds, it’s extremely difficult. Portage had government funding - it was a big deal. It was a good place for adolescents to go,” she says.
The closure was a big loss for adolescent girls in particular because it's even more difficult to find treatment centres that have as many female beds as male beds. Pike says males tended to get "clean and sober faster" and had addiction issues that were not as complex as women's.
"Men tend to go to extreme levels quicker, so hit bottom faster than women, and the percentages of men to get clean more quickly are quite high," Pike says, noting private sector treatment centres generally offered more male beds because of the faster resident turnover.
Pike says she spoke to staff at The Crossing last week and says they are all devastated by the closure.
"Intervening on behalf of adolescent youth is my specialty - I’ve seen the repercussions of young adults not having these facilities available,” Pike said.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015