Penticton’s Pathways wants to open day-tox outpatient program

Interior Health pulled all its funding for the addictions counselling centre in May

Original Penticton Western News Article published on Aug. 17, 2021

Interior Health pulled all its funding for the addictions counselling centre in May

Pathways Addictions Resource Centre is looking for a letter of support from Penticton city council to open a day-tox outpatient withdrawal management program.

The proposal would also need the support of Health Canada Substance Use and Addictions Program to get the go-ahead.

This service would be for adults 19-years of age and older in the South Okanagan who desire support in substance withdrawal. The program provides medically monitored withdrawal services, assessment, counselling, psycho-educational groups as well as medical management of clients on supervised prescription withdrawal protocols.

Since the onset of the opioid crisis, Pathways has seen a 100 per cent increase in people looking for help for addiction with 50 per cent seeking withdrawal, said Daryl Meyers, executive director at Pathways.

But, there is an extensive wait for inpatient detox in our region, which is served by only Kamloops and Kelowna with many clients waiting up to four weeks or longer for a bed.

The deadline to apply to Health Canada is Sept. 24, said Meyers.

Council will hear from Meyers at Tuesday’s meeting.

In the meantime, Penticton city coun. James Miller has brought forward a motion for Interior Health (IH) to reinstate funding to Pathways for at least two years.

In what has been a very controversial decision, Pathways was defunded by Interior Health as of May 31, pulling nearly 100 per cent of the local addictions centre’s funding.

Since IH announced that decision, weekly protests and rallies were held against IH’s decision.

Both Penticton MLA Dan Ashton and Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki have come out against Interior Health’s decision to pull funding from Pathways that has operated in the community for over 20 years.

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