Island Health issued a request for proposals in March to find an owner/operator of a six-bed sobering and assessment program in Port Hardy. The Salvation Army Lighthouse Resource Centre, which was the successful proponent, will launch the service on November 1.
“These beds set the stage for people looking for meaningful recovery,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “By being able to access a sobering bed when in need, individuals can be monitored in a safe environment and are provided an opportunity to connect with treatment and support services.”
Sobering beds are a valuable asset for clients and the community overall, said Sara Gogo, Island Health’s Manager of Integrated Health Services in Mount Waddington. For their own safety, people who are intoxicated in public may end up in the Emergency Department or in police custody. Sobering beds are a much better alternative, said Gogo. “This program is a huge asset to the community.”
Clients of the service will receive clean clothing, meals, a safe place to sleep and easy access to other health and social supports.
The sobering beds will be open year-round, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. daily. The consistent availability of this program will be especially important to clients, said Michael Winter, the Centre’s Community Ministry Supervisor. “They have the time and space to build a long-term solution for their recovery or whatever they’re going through.”
Partnerships like this one with Island Health are an important part of supporting people who are dealing with substance use challenges, said Winter, adding that Island Health staff frequently work at the Resource Centre to connect with clients. “I consider everyone at Island Health to be colleagues,” he said. “It’s been a great experience.”
Funding for this program is made possible through the BC Government’s commitment to work with health authorities and the not-for-profit sector to create 500 beds across the province for people in need of substance-use services. In the past two years, the Province has opened more than 220 new beds as part of this commitment to ensure better access to appropriate substance use treatment and supports. Within Island Health, 93 beds will be created.
On July 27, 2016, Premier Christy Clark announced a new Joint Task Force on Overdose Prevention and Response. The actions being taken under the task force support the ongoing work to support and treat British Columbians with substance use issues, a key priority of government.
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