(THE NEWS/files)                                Annika Polegato, executive-director with Alouette Addiction Services.

(THE NEWS/files) Annika Polegato, executive-director with Alouette Addiction Services.

Attempt to speed access to treatment in Maple Ridge

Alouette Addictions will be central referral agency.

Fraser Health is trying to speed up and streamline getting people into drug treatment by making Alouette Addiction Services as the lead referral agency.

Prior to Nov. 1, people could approach local treatment centres directly, such as the Maple Ridge Treatment Centre, Inner Visions, Hannah House or Hope for Freedom Society, be interviewed and possibly admitted.

But the new system in place means that people are assessed first by trained counsellors at Alouette Addictions. They evaluate each client’s needs.

Their files are then referred to Fraser Health, which places people into various treatment centres where space is available around Metro Vancouver. People can also choose particular locations or treatment centres they want to attend.

“I think that’s the ultimate goal, is to improve access to service. That’s the plan,” said Annika Polegato, with Alouette Addictions.

Doing full, clinical assessments at the start could increase efficiencies so that Fraser Health knows what drugs people are using or if they’re using suboxone or methadone, if they need a medical detox or not, she added.

If people just show up a treatment centre with no medical or medications history, that could put that facility and staff at risk, “if we don’t have a really healthy knowledge of their needs and complexities,” Polegato said.

Fraser Health wants the clinical assessments done “so that we’re getting a better fit, the first time around.”

If someone’s on suboxone and they’re placed somewhere that doesn’t take such patients, it ties up the entire system, she added.

“We want to set people up for success, so that’s the goal.”

There’s no fee for any of the services, she added.

Maple Ridge Coun. Gordy Robson, though, worries the new system is too bureaucratic and will delay people getting into treatment by two or three weeks.

Previously, people would be interviewed at each drug treatment centre, then could be admitted that day, if there was room.

“They [treatment facilities] are losing the control of intake so they will not be the ones selecting the ones who fit the best with their operations. They will be taking whoever Fraser Health decides to send there,” Robson said.

“We lose our ability here to get somebody into these treatment houses in Maple Ridge quickly. We think it’s going to be a major problem for people trying to get into treatment.”

So far, 16 people have shown up at Alouette Addictions for such referrals in addition to their regular caseload.

Under the new system, it’s going to take two meetings to get into treatment.

“If someone came in today and said, ‘I want to go to treatment today,’ to the best of my knowledge, that wouldn’t likely happen,” Polegato said.

According to Fraser Health, people will need only one referral and to access to facilities across the region.

“With the previous system, a client would need multiple referrals, for access to multiple services providers,” said Tusleem Juma, with Fraser Health.

The health authority’s mobile substance abuse access team can also do such referrals, she added.

Juma said that clients will be screened and matched to services “based on their needs and preference.” High needs cases will be prioritized and people can choose the location or a particular residential treatment program.

She added that a person’s health-care provider can refer to the new service and that if someone doesn’t have a doctor.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Jan. 24

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Prep teacher Ola Cholewa shows local environmentalist Jack Emberly posters that students from the Fish Ladder Awareness Team made to promote a fish ladder along the Alouette River. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)
New club in fight for fish ladder in Maple Ridge

The Environmental School club creating awareness about the need for a fish ladder on the Alouette

Keith Kartzewski captured a fogbow, when fog refracts light in the shape of a rainbow but without the bright colours. This was taken in Pitt Meadows Feb. 19, 2021. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Fogbow photographed in Pitt Meadows

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

The Pitt Meadows Art Gallery will be running a photography exhibition through February and March.
Pitt Meadows Art Gallery featuring photography

Pros and amateurs submitted their images on a variety of themes

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

sd
VIDEO: Mission drag racer scores 1st career win, sets world record, makes history in 2020

Justin Bond, founder and owner of JBS Equipment Mission, has break-out year

Most Read