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Vernon addictions treatment centre among those getting funding for more beds

Eight more treatment beds are being added to the 20 existing ones at an addictions treatment facility in Vernon. Global News

A residential addictions treatment facility in Vernon will soon feature more space for those seeking help, thanks to a provincial grant application being approved.

Bill’s Place provides 20 treatment beds for those battling addiction. But this spring, it will be able to offer eight more beds.

“To be very candid, our team shed a lot of tears of joy when we heard that this application was approved,” said Randene Wejr, executive director at the Turning Points Collaborative Society, which operates the facility.

Over the years, waitlists to get into publicly-funded treatment facilities across B.C. have grown.

Read more: B.C. reports record number of illicit drug overdoses in 2020

At Bill’s place, the wait can be anywhere from two to four months long, making it challenging for people who decide they need help right away.

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“This means that families will get their loved ones back healthy, well and fully participating in life,” Wejr said.

“This means so many more lives changed and lived with wellness. This means everything.”

Jacob Philp spent eight months at Bill’s Place in 2017.

The former drug addict credits the facility for helping him turn his life around.

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“For me, it was simple. Get to treatment and live, or die an addict on the streets,” Philp told Global News. “It was literally life or death.”

The husband and father of two said providing more treatment beds will save lives.

“Eight more treatment beds mean so many more people will get the chance to save their life. It really is that simple in my eyes,” he said. “More beds equal more lives saved.”

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Turning Points Collaborative Society’s grant for $741,000 was approved by the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions.

The ministry is funding about 100 public beds around B.C. at a cost of approximately $13 million.

Read more: Okanagan man shares personal story to highlight urgent need for more addiction treatment beds

According to the ministry, 46 beds will be new spaces in existing treatment and recovery organizations.

The remaining beds will be converted from private-pay beds to fully funded public ones for people who cannot afford private-pay rates, and to help cut wait times for public treatment.

“We are thrilled that the funding will create more than 100 new public beds in communities across B.C., even more than we anticipated when we announced 50 to 70 beds last summer,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.

“There’s more to do, but we are working hard to build up a strong system of addictions and mental health care.”

Turning Points Collaborative Society hopes to have the eight new beds at Bill’s Place up and running in April.

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