New recovery beds in Kamloops help 'fill the gaps' from drug abuse to employment | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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New recovery beds in Kamloops help 'fill the gaps' from drug abuse to employment

Formerly the Maverick Motor Inn, Maverick Manor is slated to open space for 12 more beds and expand the reach of their recovery services.
Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
February 17, 2021 - 5:30 PM

The B.C. government announced last week it is dedicating more than $13 million to recovery beds around the province. In Kamloops, ASK Wellness received a portion of that funding to add 12 new beds to their facility at Maverick Manor.

The 12 beds are more than just a warm place to stay. The new funding allows for the Maverick to move from an employment-focused model, to a three-phase "recovery and career development" facility, according to ASK Wellness executive director Bob Hughes.

"We've been at this for a long time, but the recovery side and employment has been very disjointed," Hughes said. "We need to think outside the box. Looking at the death rates this year, we've got to come up with something different."

The 2020 B.C. Coroner's report on overdose deaths showed an all-time high of 1,716, including nearly 400 lives lost in Interior Health region alone.

The three phases of recovery, Hughes said, will first include three months of "intensive treatment", funded by the province. Those first three months will be an abstinence-based program, encouraging opioid agonist therapy with Methadone or Suboxone.

"We're looking into cannabis use too - it's a more progressive treatment option."

There is no obligation for ASK Wellness clients to continue into the next two phases, but they offer a continuation of recovery treatment into career development.

READ MORE: Residential treatment in the Interior has actually declined through the overdose crisis

The second phase is up to six months which continues treatment in partnership with Interior Health, while offering support services to develop a career plan. Then the third and last phase moves the client into career development to help them reintegrate into society — filling the gaps left from treatment programs that may help a client stay clean but lack options to move further. The last phase at Maverick Manor can last up to a year.

"There won't be progress if we only provide housing, but wrap-around services aren't there," CMHA Kamloops acting director Alfred Achoba said.

Added recovery beds in Kamloops are getting a warm welcome from CMHA. With Achoba adding that offering clients the choice between whether to leave or continue treatment is important.

"You can't force people. It's so complex, and when we talk about human rights and harm reduction, we need to talk about peoples' right to use without judgement."

READ MORE: 'Our staff are beaten up:' ASK Wellness wants national approach to overdose crisis

For the CMHA, added recovery beds are just another piece in 'wrap around services' offered for people struggling with addictions and homelessness.

"We're dealing with a drug pandemic too. Recovery does not always mean sober - we're dealing with people with trauma or pain. They might still use, but much less. We need to accept that."

Achoba says they hope to see more services like drug testing sites or overdose prevention sites, to offer a safe space not only to use, but for one-on-one advice to pursue other treatments.

Achoba says he's seen public opinion start to change and attributes it to an increasing death toll in the opioid struggle.

READ MORE: British Columbia seeks exemption from Ottawa on decriminalization as OD deaths soar

That public opinion shift, along with increasing pressure on the province from municipalities, is encouraging for organizations like Ask Wellness.

"People want to believe that recovery and reintroduction to housing through work is possible," Hughes said. "A lot of employers are skeptical of the risks. Unfortunately, the system hasn't been well set up to help people experiencing addictions and homelessness get back into employment."

ASK Wellness has already received calls from as far away as Quesnel from people hoping to take advantage of the expanded services, but Hughes said the space is likely to fill up with clients already in Kamloops.

They expect the new provincially-funded space should be ready to welcome new clients in April.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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