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Detox service for Indigenous young people to open on Vancouver Island

The centre will have 20 treatment beds for youth aged 12 to 18

A drug detox and rehabilitation center for Indigenous young people will open in Lantzville, located north of Nanaimo.

As per a statement from the Ministry of Health and Addictions, the Orca Lelum Youth Wellness Centre will begin admitting patients in June.

The ministry statement stated, “First Nations people in B.C. are almost six times more likely to die from illegal-drug poisoning than other people in the province.”

People from Indigenous communities have been requesting culturally appropriate, Indigenous-led, mental health and substance abuse treatment in order to address increased rates of relapse, overdoses, and other related harms.

The facility will have 20 treatment beds for young people between the ages of 12 and 18. Half of these beds will be used for short-term detoxification and stabilization, and the other half for stays of 10 weeks.

The short-term beds will be available on a drop-in basis.

The center will be operated by the First Nations Health Authority and will have 50 staff members, including medical personnel, clinical counselors, cultural workers, and intake staff.

Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, stated, “Indigenous young people facing mental health and addiction challenges often encounter obstacles such as racism and a lack of suitable resources when attempting to access the care they require.”

She added, “Providing assistance informed by Indigenous knowledge is crucial in supporting them on this journey, so that they can feel secure and connected to their culture while focusing on their recovery in the short and long term.”


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