Outpatient addiction clinic opening soon in Esquimalt

Facility to be first of its kind in the Capital Region

An addiction treatment centre will open its doors in Esquimalt on May 1, said to be the only private outpatient facility of its kind in the Capital Region.

Spearheaded by Edgewood, an 80-bed private residential treatment centre that has operated in Nanaimo since 1994, the new clinic will provide counselling and other support services to people just coming out of treatment for addictions to illegal and prescription drugs, alcohol and gambling, as well as eating disorders.

“We’ve always said this: it doesn’t matter how good treatment is, follow-up and after-care are absolutely critical to success,” said Lorne Hildebrand, executive director of Edgewood.

“So if you don’t do the follow-up, if you don’t do the after-care, if you don’t stay with your patient for a longer period of time, recovery rates go down. And hugely so, almost to the point where you could say the best treatment centre in the world would fail miserably if they didn’t do after-care and follow-up.”

Support is critical during the first five years of sobriety, when relapses are most prevalent, he said.

In addition to helping people aged 19 and older achieve long-term sobriety, Edgewood’s Victoria Addiction Services satellite office will provide pre-assessments, family coaching and therapy, employer assistance and intervention services and counselling for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Other services will include educational seminars on relapse prevention, relationships, spirituality, anger management and quitting smoking, for example.

Greater Victoria was chosen to host Edgewood’s second outpatient clinic in order to support the 40 to 70 people from the region who receive residential treatment at the centre in Nanaimo each year. Edgewood treats 600 patients a year.

Esquimalt was selected above other municipalities due to its central location, and because there is ample parking near 1245 Esquimalt Rd., where the office will be located.

“We’ve always wanted to open in (Greater) Victoria because so many people come from (there),” Hildebrand said.

Many patients are referred to Edgewood through CFB Esquimalt, among other organizations and companies in the region, he added.

The new centre is modelled after Edgewood’s Vancouver clinic, which opened five years ago.

“(Greater) Victoria is going to be a chance for us to really step up the program,” Hildebrand said.

A third clinic, after Vancouver and Esquimalt, is slated to open in Seattle this year and there are plans to eventually open more clinics elsewhere in Canada and the U.S.

Victoria Addiction Services is seen as a positive addition to Esquimalt’s business sector, offering another avenue for people who need help.

“Sometimes people, at first blush when they hear of businesses (and) professions like this, they tend to go to the negative in terms of what it might create within the community, or within one’s neighbourhood,” said Esquimalt Coun. Dave Hodgins.

“It’s really incumbent upon us to make sure the public understands what this great service can do for individuals in need.”

Edgewood’s expansion plans also include opening residential sober-living houses near existing outpatient clinics. These will provide the small percentage of people, who are really struggling with sobriety, with a place to stay for up to one year, where they can receive treatment.

“Ideally at some point it becomes one whole building, but that is much farther down the road,” Hildebrand said. “First things first.”

emccracken@vicnews.com

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