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New substance-use treatment option available in Penticton, West Kelowna, Salmon Arm: Interior Health

Interior Health says a new option available in Penticton, West Kelowna and Salmon Arm can provide discreet help to people who have been unable to attend traditional treatment programs for a variety of reasons.
Interior Health says a new option available in Penticton, West Kelowna and Salmon Arm can provide discreet help to people who have been unable to attend traditional treatment programs for a variety of reasons. Global News / File

Calling it a flexible approach, Interior Health says a new treatment option is available for substance users in five Interior communities.

According to the health agency, Integrated Treatment Teams (ITT) have been launched in West Kelowna, Penticton, Salmon Arm-Enderby, Kamloops and Cranbrook.

Interior Health says the ITT teams can provide discreet help to people who have been unable to attend traditional treatment programs due to work schedules, lack of transportation, child-care demands or other reasons.

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“This is a brand new team and a new approach,” said Lindsay Coughlin, a member of the Integrated Treatment Team for West Kelowna.

“We provide more flexible, discreet treatment options for those who haven’t reached out before, including clients at risk of overdose or those who have significant substance use issues.”

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Coughlin added “often, when people think about addiction treatment they immediately think about inpatient facility-based treatment or rehab. However, evidence shows that accessing treatment in a community setting can have excellent outcomes.

“We offer substance use counselling and treatment online that is self-paced, something we haven’t offered before, and really supports people with work schedules and other responsibilities.”

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Interior Health says:

  • ITT is meant to be confidential and discreet
  • The goal is feelings of shame and blame people may experience around substance use.
  • Research shows stigma is a major barrier preventing people who use drugs from seeking treatment.
  • ITT members will use virtual treatment platforms to provide flexible, evidence-based treatment.
  • Access to services will be based on the client’s needs and goals

“Stigma drives people to use alone and that isolation has been disastrous with the overdose crisis and the pandemic combined,” Sheila Malcolmson, mental health and addictions minister, said in a press release.

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“Embedding these new multidisciplinary teams in communities will provide a clear path for people to access the health care they need and to be seen with dignity, compassion, and respect.”

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“Everyone’s experience of addiction is unique, and their path to wellness is unique, as well,” added Interior Health CEO Susan Brown.

“That’s why at the foundation of Integrated Treatment Teams is the ability to meet people’s individual needs on their schedule, and to work with them towards their own personalized treatment goals.”

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