Four new low-risk withdrawal management and treatment beds will be opening at the Maple Ridge Treatment Centre for men – specifically for youth.
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Sheila Malcolmson made the announcement Thursday, June 30, at the centre, which is owned and operated by Fraser Health.
The new beds will support young men aged 18 to 24 years old and will connect those in need to services and supports. They will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will allow for people under the influence of drugs to rest and be monitored, Malcolmson noted.
The beds will go a long way to help young men with substance-use challenges get the help they need on their pathway to recovery, said the minister.
“When young people make the courageous decision to come forward and get help, we want supports to meet them,” she added. “That’s why I’m grateful to see these services in Maple Ridge.”
Dr. Victoria Lee, president and CEO of Fraser Health, elaborated that in addition to enhancing the range of services provided to young people with addiction struggles across the region, the beds will also enable young men to access specialized, supportive care closer to home.
The treatment beds can support people for up to 30 days and include opportunities to connect with services to supports to help them along their road to recovery.
Debbie Picco, who lost her own son to a drug overdose in October, 2020, welcomed the news of additional beds, but said it is not enough.
“Maple Ridge seems to have one of the highest death rates from drug poisoning in the province, despite its size,” she said, pointing to a recent BC Coroners Service report that said between January and April this year 15 people in the community died due to illicit drug toxicity.
Picco noted that this figure translates into almost one person per week.
“It’s a start to seeing more supports in Maple Ridge. We still need many more than that. We need full treatment and follow up after treatment, as well,” she said.
Picco noted that the latest statistics indicate that the average age of men who are dying from drug toxicity are aged 30 to 59 years old.
“We need to have more beds, even if they are just resting beds for the older age groups, as well,” she noted.
In the same BC Coroners Service report, 548 men across the province died of illicit drug toxicity from January to April this year, compared to 174 women. And of those who died, 180 were between the ages of 30 and 39, 167 between 40 and 49, and 178 between 50 and 59 – compared to 91 between the ages of 19 and 29.
Picco is a volunteer with Maple Ridge Street Outreach, a group that meets on Mondays, and given her experience she believes more help is also needed for couples who are challenged by substance-use issues.
Bob D’eith, MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission, said that the new beds will mean that young men with addictions challenges will have a safe place to connect with supports that he believes will save their lives.
“I am pleased that these new treatment beds are available for young people in our community. The addition of these services addresses a critical need for resources in Maple Ridge,” added Lisa Beare, MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows.
The treatment beds are at Maple Ridge Treatment Centre, which is located along the Haney Bypass at 22269 Callaghan Ave.
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