Facilities are key in treating alcoholism, addiction

Re: The costs of alcohol (News, May 20)

On April 1 B.C. became the first jurisdiction in Canada to recognize and treat alcoholism as a chronic disease.

According to the article by Natalie North she states that in the last 10 years the mental health and addictions budget has increased 52 per cent to $1.3 billion.

Where is the money going? The billions from government funding is going to law enforcement, the court system and hospitals. We have extremely limited facilities in Victoria, especially when it comes to youth. For example, youth detox has a maximum seven- to 10-day stay time, with a five-person capacity, no connecting rehabilitation services, residential facilities for recovery or stable housing. The idea that paying doctors to take extra time to diagnose, and root out reasons behind someone’s problem drinking before their condition worsens doesn’t seem like much of a step in any meaningful direction.

The doctor’s get the funding and the youth still have no facilities?

B.C. could start with stepping up to the plate, and following Alberta’s youth legislation. Alberta’s Protection of Children Abusing Drugs Act, which requires persons under 18 with an apparent alcohol or drug problem to participate, with or without their agreement, in an assessment and subsequent outpatient treatment or in a program within a protective safe house.

Victoria has spent millions of dollars on a real jail for youth – now lets put some money towards facilities and services that offer a different route, even when law enforcement, the court system and corrections are involved.

Again, what about following Alberta’s lead with: youth intervention facilities that umbrella programs involving mental health, addictions, sexually exploited youth, detox,  recovery, rehabilitation and residential services?

Tim Stockwell director of the centre for Addictions Research B.C. points out: “A recent study has suggested that we’ve hugely underestimated the number of cancer deaths caused by drinking.” If any of this gets the ball rolling to finally provide some long-needed services and facilities, I am all for it.

Conversely, the provincial government passing the buck to mental health and addictions hasn’t worked out well so far, even with that increase to $1.3 billion – we still have minimal or no services. We have needed to offer programs that focus on peer support and prevention. It seems it is, as always, about money, but the idea of focusing on youth, and eventually costing the government and taxpayers less money in the long-term may finally have some pull.

I have spent the past 30-plus years working with youth that have been involved in the court system and corrections in some capacity. I’ve also worked with teens that have not been involved in any legal system, but still have a high need for help with issues relating to alcohol and addictions, and mental health services. How can there still be such a lack of facilities in Victoria?

What I have learned is that legislation is the real way to make change. How can this not be a better approach and focus than the current standard? Why pay doctors to take extra time to identify, assess and treat problem drinkers when many are not trained in the area of addiction? Is a doctor’s appointment really considered treatment?

What help is a diagnosis with no public facilities for real treatment? Facilities would be a much better investment for funding, and in some provinces that will require legislation.

Cindy Jones

executive, Vancouver Island

Criminal Justice Association

Just Posted

The District of Saanich has pinpointed funding requests to Oak Bay and Victoria to help offset the purchase price of the Kings Park greenspace and keep the property intact. (Courtesy District of Saanich)
Saanich requests funding help from neighbours to preserve Kings Road green space

District hopes Victoria and Oak Bay will join them in protecting urban green space

(Black Press Media file photo)
COVID-19 exposure closes Oak Bay pub, restaurant

Penny Farthing, Vis-a-Vis expected to reopen Wednesday after deep clean

Victoria police officers used less-lethal weapons to arrest a woman Sunday night after she allegedly attacked a man with a hammer. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police use less-lethal weapons on woman following hammer attack

Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team called to barricade situation

Thriving Toots Wilderness School is trying to buy a 98-acre plot of undeveloped land from the Boys and Girls’ Club of Greater Victoria in Metchosin. (Contributed/Thriving Roots)
Hopeful buyers of Boys and Girls’ Club land in Metchosin would keep it wild

Nature-based school, partners trying to secure financing to buy 98-acre property: school director

A temporary urgent and primary care centre will open in Esquimalt this week, offering residents more health care options in their own community. (Black Press Media file)
Esquimalt’s temporary urgent and primary care centre to open Monday

The Esquimalt Health Unit will house the temporary site, permanent location opening in December

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

Harvesting hay in the Fraser Valley. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
COVID-19: B.C. waives farm income requirement for a second year

Property owners don’t need minimum income for 2022 taxes

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province's fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Most Read