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New treatment centre hopes to shine light on Kelowna's youth addiction

The Bridge has purchased the Crossroads building on Highway 33 in Rutland and hopes to open its residential treatment beds by early August.
June 19, 2013 - 1:53 PM

A local non-profit group specializing in family services and counselling has now been tasked with managing Kelowna's most comprehensive addiction treatment centre.

The Bridge Youth and Family Services Society has been providing programs for parents, children and youth in foster care over the past 40 years. Just yesterday Interior Health announced the organization was the ideal choice for running Kelowna's addiction treatment and detox centre, a facility critical to the wellbeing and recovery of those struggling with addiction.

The Bridge's executive director Corinne Dolman says the link between family and addiction services is closer than one might think.

“Addiction occurs in families," she says. "Many of the participants we already deal with struggle with alcohol and drug addiction.”

Treating adult clients for substance abuse is not outside The Bridge's mandate, Dolman says. If someone is struggling with addiction it often impacts their entire family.

"This is a very good fit for us...it's very logical to me.”

While it's the first time The Bridge is providing care for adults struggling with substance abuse, Dolman says the non-profit group has existing expertise with in-house programs and at one point in their 40 years of operation they ran a youth detox centre. Over the next few weeks The Bridge will be recruiting new staff wih the expertise necessary to launch withdrawal programs in July.

"When you take on these programs – you hire qualified people," Dolman says, who has accumulated years of experience in counselling for addiction. 

“We're hopeful many of the previous employees of Crossroads will apply."

What will the new programs look like?

While Crossroads had 38 residential beds, the Bridge will be running only 20 intensive treatment beds for individuals completing a six week program involving group and psycho-social therapy. Another 10 beds will be designated for people seeking urgent withdrawal from drugs or alcohol, under nurse and doctor supervision for a period of five to ten days.

The beds are for individuals 19 years and over but Dolman hopes that will change one day.

“We're really hoping if we establish ourselves as qualified addiction providers in this area that we can really try and work towards more youth addiction services...it's a priority of ours to see youth detox," she says. 

Interior Health does not currently fund residential treatment programs for youth in Kelowna. Interior Health administrator Randy Murray says the only beds they do fund are located in Osoyoos at the Crossing residential treatment centre.

"It makes total sense to me to target addiction money to young people," Dolman says, and particularly in Kelowna.

“I would argue we lack a whole continuum of services for young people" she says, including mental health services. "There's definitely gaps in the system for young people.”

For now Dolman will be focused on getting the two facilities in Rutland up and running. The Bridge has purchased two buildings from Crossroads, one on Highway 33 where the Crossroad's Detox centre is currently located and another facility at 265 Gray Road, where they will host the intensive treatment beds.

“We're gonna go as fast as we can," Dolman says. Next week they will be advertising for positions, and getting training and orientation underway.

"Realistically, I'm thinking four to six weeks," she says.

The Bridge hopes to staff its facilities with  nurses and other specialists who worked at the Crossroads Treatment Centre.
The Bridge hopes to staff its facilities with nurses and other specialists who worked at the Crossroads Treatment Centre.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at jwhittet@infotelnews.ca or call (250)718-0428.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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