It is still a work in process and only in draft form, but Mt. Waddington Health Network’s Addictions and Recovery plan has come together nicely and will offer hope for those battling addictions.
Port Hardy Mayor Bev Parnham said the group from the health network — formed specifically to work on addictions and recovery — has done an excellent job of identifying the gaps in service.
“Throughout Mount Waddington there are all kinds of pockets of help for people, but some are only accessible for people, for example, at a certain stage of recovery and there just didn’t seem to be a one-door place to go, there was nobody navigating the system for these people,” she said.
“The hope behind this report is they will be able to put that together.”
The plan outlines several problems with current addictions services and solutions to those problems, including: greater integration and cooperation between services; more and better local facilities — including proper detox and sobering centres — individualized care that takes peoples’ personal needs and underlying traumas into account; proper aftercare and reintegration programs; education about drugs and drug abuse, and about available services; greater responsiveness and accountability; and, for First Nations, revival and participation in indigenous culture.
“There are issues all through the North Island and we recognize that,” said Parnham, who argued help must come from institutional partners, like hospitals, but community support must also be a component of the recovery process.
“I think we’ve all had family members or friends who have battled with addictions and know the community component is a huge part of recovery — the detox is not the end of it, there has to be continuous, ongoing support from the community.”
And that’s based on history, Parnham said.
“There have been many instances here where people have said, ‘I really need help, this is what I need to do,” so they’ve been flown out to where they have to go for detox and stabilization and then they’re flown back here where their friends meet them and off they go back into the same community where many addictions got a foothold.”
The draft plan now goes out to all the stakeholders for review, then will be forwarded to Vancouver Island Health Authority officials for its take on the plan, which was presented to Port Hardy council late last month.
Still, there are no plans for something like a dedicated addictions centre.
“The best case scenario,” said Parnham, “ is we have a full service for the people who really, truly do want to access recovery.”