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Penticton addiction resource centre at risk of closure after loss of funding

Pathways said Interior Health will be transitioning all addiction services to an in-house model, with the transition expected to start on June 1. Google Maps

Calling itself a “cornerstone in the community” for those who have struggled with substance abuse and addiction, Penticton’s Pathways Addictions Resource Centre says its future is now unknown.

On Tuesday, Pathways announced that nearly all of its funding will likely disappear, stating that Interior Health was repatriating addiction contracts that Pathways has run for more than 20 years.

In a press release, Pathways said Interior Health will be transitioning all addiction services to an in-house model, with the transition date expected to start in three months’ time.

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In an email to Global News, Interior Health stated that it will be “shifting substance use counselling services in the South Okanagan from an external contract to internally operated services.”

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The health agency said it “has advised Pathways, the current contract holder that Interior Health will be taking over the service June 1,” and that “there will be no drop in services for the clients as Interior Health works collaboratively with Pathways to transition clients from Pathways to Interior Health services.”

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Interior Health said its changing models because “substance use services offered through Interior Health have changed significantly in the last two years in the South Okanagan due to the availability of emergency response funding from the provincial government.

“This has significantly improved the substance use services offered directly by Interior Health.”

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The Pathways statement said funding from IH makes up 95 per cent of its budget, which means an uncertain future.

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“Pathways has been the cornerstone in the community for over 47 years, providing a continuum of care for thousands of people who have struggled with substance use and addiction,” the organization said.

“The staff and board are determined to stay open. Our wish is to continue to serve the community and are working on some initiatives and alternative funding sources to hopefully make this happen.”

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