PORT McNEILL—The Mount Waddington Health Network’s Addiction Services Planning Committee unveiled the result of four years of work last week during a celebratory dinner to recognize completion of a long-sought addiction and recovery service plan for residents of the Mount Waddington region.
Changing Together — A Healing Journey, a comprehensive set of guidelines and recommendations to assist in treatment, recovery and prevention of substance abuse, was presented to 68 participants in attendance at the Community Hall.
Chief Hutch Hunt provided a welcome address and Chief Bill Cranmer added a welcome to attendees, who included representatives of all local first nations as well as the Vancouver Island Health Authority, local government and non-governmental health-care workers.
“The purpose of the meeting was a celebratory dinner for all the communities in the region, highlighting what has been achieved and what is currently being worked on,” said Shirley Ackland, committee member and Port McNeill councillor. “It was the first opportunity since we gathered last January and had a rough draft of the plan.”
The final draft, which Ackland estimated was the “sixth or seventh edition,” was published in September and announced to local community councils, first nations and the Regional District of Mount Waddington.
It notes the establishment of a “safe sober” facility in Port Hardy at the Lighthouse Resource Centre and a regional recovery centre in Alert Bay run by the recently formed Cormorant Island Supportive Recovery Society.
The next step, Ackland said, will be to establish a safe recover centre, preferably in Port McNeill, which is located at the junction of the road and ferry system easily assessable by a number of North Island communities.
“I’m encouraged that we’re moving forward into services and programs to help the North Island,” she said. “Things are really looking up.”
The first steps toward the recovery centres were taken during a meeting Ackland had with Port McNeill-based physicians Granger Avery and Jane Clelland and several other people more than four years ago, after two different people had died in cells while under the influence.
“People looking to sober up didn’t have any option for that except the cells,” she said.
Sean Junglas of the Salvation Army in Port Hardy offered the Lighthouse Resource Centre as a safe sober stop, and Port McNeill Hospital has established a detox centre.
The next step, Ackland said, is a transition treatment and recovery in Port McNeill, ideally a home-type facility with a host, a guidance counsellor, communal kitchen and living room where families could visit clients while they attend work or school in a drug- and alcohol-free environment until they are able to cope independently.
“Most people into addictions don’t choose that life,” Ackland said. “They’re involved because of something that happened in their past.”