A total of 63 people with drug users problems have completed the Intensive Day Treatment Program that was created a few years ago in Kamloops but expanded in June to three Okanagan cities.
“I was part of the team that developed the Kamloops program and we did see good success,” Rae Samson, administrator of Quality Practice and Substance Use Services with Interior Health told iNFOnews.ca. “With funds coming in from the provincial overdose program we thought we would use those funds to expand this.”
It’s now offered in Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon. She doesn’t know if similar programs are offered in other health regions.
The program is for people who need treatment for what’s termed “substance-use disorders” but need the flexibility or support of staying in their communities rather than go off to a residential treatment centre.
It’s a six-week program divided into modules with ongoing intake options so, if a person is ready to get into treatment, there is usually a spot available.
So far, about 55 per cent of those who signed up have successfully completed the program, including 21 in Vernon, 16 in each of Penticton and Kelowna and 10 in Kamloops.
Samson said the success rate is the same or slightly better than for residential treatment since it helps people balance work and family responsibilities. Still, they have to commit to three to four hour sessions, five days a week for the six-week duration.
This is just one of a broad range of expanded services Interior Health is offering in order to combat the dramatic increase in drug overdose deaths in recent years.
The latest statistics, released Sept. 26, show 40 drug overdose deaths in Kelowna this year, 25 in Kamloops and 17 in Vernon. Penticton had a lower number and was not included on the list.
Other programs include mobile supervised drug injection sites, mobile nursing programs, counselling for people still using drugs but wanting to stabilize their usage, a Connections program that identifies people suffering overdoses in hospital emergency wards and connecting them with treatment programs all the way to providing supportive housing.
Samson said each of these four cities have community action teams trying to ensure every effort is being made to coordinate various services throughout the communities and that housing is a key element to helping people stabilize their lives.
Find past stories on the opioid crisis here.
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