Penticton addiction centre launches online fundraiser to keep doors open | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton addiction centre launches online fundraiser to keep doors open

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
March 04, 2021 - 2:28 PM

Pathways Addictions Centre is fighting to stay alive in Penticton.

The addictions resource centre has organized a GoFundMe page in an effort to raise $500,000 following an announcement by Interior Health earlier this week it would not be renewing three addictions contracts with the centre.

Pathways executive director Daryl Meyers says the money will allow Pathways to pivot some services and keep the centre open for a year, providing an opportunity to find other funding and grant opportunities.

“We will pivot service to an out patient service, Interior Health can do what they need to do,” Meyers says.

She says the decision to "repatriate" the three contracts was part of an initiative for the province’s health authorities to bring all of their contracts in house.

READ MORE: Penticton addictions service sees Interior Health funds pulled, asks for community support

The announcement came as a complete shock.

“I got called to a Zoom call. I didn’t have any idea it was going to be for that. You would think after 20 years we would be provided with more notice, a longer transition time. It’s a big endeavour to transfer all our clients,” Meyers says.

Pathways, located at 996 Main St., looks after around 1,000 clients a year, and has 500 currently using their services.

Meyers says one of the biggest changes people depending on Interior Health will see will be a more structured approach to treatment that may be off-putting to those seeking treatment.

“You don’t have to call us to make an appointment. People can just drop in. Even all through COVID-19, people could come to our door and get treatment. I’m not sure how people without a phone will be able to seek treatment through Interior Health,” she says.

She says Pathways can respond immediately to a person’s needs, without a phone call or an appointment.

READ MORE: Accusations fly over Penticton council decision to shutter emergency shelter

“They are here, they walk in, they get treatment right away. That’s what we want to continue, that grass roots organization, not a cookie cutter approach to the medical model,” she says.

Meyers says there are no in-patient treatment facilities in Penticton and no detox centres. Pathways provided a wide variety of out patient services that went beyond working with their substance abuse issues. She says the organization brought outside groups - schools, probation services, families and employees together to help their clients to wellness.

“It’s meant a whole wrap-around service of care that we have been able to provide,” she said.

She says the issue is part of broader health care issues in the city and the province that include homeless issues that cropped up between the province and Penticton city council earlier this week.

“We’re in the middle of two pandemics - COVID-19 and the opioid crisis, and now we’ve got homelessness on the plate. It’s just starting to explode. People are standing up and paying notice,” she says.

Without Interior Health contracts – 95 per cent of Pathway’s budget came from the Interior Health contracts –  it’s expected their funding will run out by May 31 of this year.

Pathways has been operating in Penticton since 1975, originally known as the South Okanagan Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Program. It has grown from two to 10 counsellors and is now a registered charity.

Pathways offers a variety of programs and services including outreach, counselling and groups, in addition to providing Naloxone training and harm reduction supplies.

To take part in the fundraising campaign go to the GoFundMe page here.


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