(Jake Courtepatte/Capital News)

22 new adult substance-use beds, complex care housing coming to Okanagan

The province and Interior Health announced new treatment and recovery services for Kelowna

In response to the toxic drug supply in B.C., Interior Health and the province are announcing 22 new adult substance-use beds to serve people in the Okanagan.

The Ministry of Health and Addictions made the announcement Tuesday (March 15), stating people in the Okanagan living with mental health and substance-use challenges will have access to new treatment and recovery services.

The government is working alongside Interior Health (IH), BC Housing and local service providers to bring complex care housing to Kelowna and Kamloops to support those living with complex mental health and substance use. Many of those needing support have been caught in a cycle of evictions, shelters, and often emergency rooms and jail cells, said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.

“By adding new treatment beds and initiating complex care housing in both Kelowna and Kamloops, we are building a full continuum of mental health and substance-use care for people throughout the Interior,” said Malcolmson.

IH will work with The Bridge Youth and Family Services Society in Kelowna to open 22 new adult beds, 13 of which will be dedicated to withdrawal management, nine for transition and stabilization care. These new services are part of Budget 2021’s $500-million investment to continue building a comprehensive system of mental health and addictions care.

The Bridge is a not-for-profit charity organization that offers an expansive recovery & addiction services program. A portion of the 22 new beds will be housed in The Bridge building across the street from Kelowna General Hospital on Royal Avenue.

The Bridge Board President Patrick Spinks said that the existing program currently has eight beds and six stabilization apartments at its location. Eight more beds will be added to the facility.

He noted that this investment in the Okanagan will more than double the capacity to provide withdrawal management services.

“What that means in practical terms, is that wait times are going to be reduced, and people can get the care they need when they need it.

“In terms of transition and stabilization care, it means that The Bridge can now provide wraparound support. We’re now in position to provide a continuity of care which we’ve always aspired to do regardless of where they are in their recovery journey.”

Interior Health President Susan Brown was on hand to provide her support for the expansion project, thanking The Bridge for the work they do.

The province has also invested $164 million through this year’s budget to build complex-care housing throughout the province in order to serve up to 500 vulnerable people. This investment includes funding to plan for complex-care housing projects in Kelowna and Kamloops. This funding is on top of the new complex-care housing locations announced in January for Vancouver, Abbotsford and Surrey.

READ MORE: Substance-use services, mental health support increased in Vernon

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