Pathways Addictions Resource Centre reopens in Penticton with large drop in clientele | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Pathways Addictions Resource Centre reopens in Penticton with large drop in clientele

FILE PHOTO - Pathways Addiction Resource Centre in Penticton.

By charging $100 for an hour of counselling, Pathways Addictions Resource Centre managed to reopen its doors after losing the vast majority of the funding it was receiving from Interior Health, but the number of clients has dropped from around 25 people daily to five or six under the new model.

Nevertheless, executive director Daryl Meyers is “thrilled” the facility is open again, and she can appreciate having less traffic during the first step of this new chapter.

“It’s like a soft opening, we want to start slowly,” Meyers said, adding that Pathways plans to gradually increase the number of clients to former levels. “We were worried 100 might show up all at once.”

Another new approach Pathways is taking is a campaign called Give a Gift of Service, which invites the public to fund counselling or group enrolment for those who can’t afford it. That program is accepting donations but has not yet launched.

“We are still a non-profit society, and our commitment is to the general public, regardless of income or ability to pay,” Meyers said in a press release last week. “We are making the same services available to those who do not have the capacity to pay all the costs. Many of our clients had the ability to pay for services previously so our charges are on par with what is available elsewhere.”

Those services can now be accessed for free through Interior Health.

“If you have exhausted the available services from Interior Health, we would welcome a call," he said.

READ MORE: Penticton council calls on Interior Health to restore funding to Pathways Addictions Resource Centre

Pathways has also expanded its services beyond substance use and addictions – it now offers counselling for issues including anxiety, depression, PTSD, trauma, grief, fears/phobias, and anger management.

“As part of the new services, people can also book their appointment online, pay online, see what groups are coming up and check out the staff," Meyers said.

Appointments can be scheduled for in person or online.

Meyers has also applied for funding from the federal government for a "day-tox" program to run at Pathways, which is for anyone over 19 who needs help with substance withdrawal. It received a blessing from Penticton council earlier this month, and will require approval from Health Canada's Substance Use and Addictions Program. However the applications are still being received for another month, and he isn’t expecting the federal government to move very quickly on the file.

“Since the onset of the opioid crisis, Pathways has seen a 100 per cent increase in people looking for help for addiction with 50 per cent seeking withdrawal,” Meyers said. “But there is an extensive wait for inpatient detox in our region, which is served by only Kamloops and Kelowna with many clients waiting up to four weeks or longer for a bed.”

READ MORE: Interior Health begins transition of Penticton's Pathways Addiction treatment services

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