Pubdate: Thu, 24 Aug 2006
Source: Mission City Record (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 The Mission City Record
Author: Randy Hawes


Editor, The Record:

According to Sherry Mumford, manager of addiction programs for the
Fraser Health Authority (FHA), badly run drug recovery houses are on
the rise. She claims some have no food, some have complaints of
intimidation and violence, and in some, there are complaints of drug
dealing. She goes on to say that there are also some very good
unlicensed facilities.

It is likely that Fraser Health's own policies have created the

Currently in the FHA, if an addict is ready for treatment, the wait
can be weeks before a bed is available. Addicts need immediate access
to care when they are ready to accept treatment. Returning them to the
street to wait days or weeks for admission to treatment loses them

Addicts, desperate for treatment, may accept anything to break out of
their addictions, and are therefore very vulnerable to shoddy
operators offering bogus programs. The only reason the bad treatment
houses proliferate is the lack of funded beds through FHA.

Mumford states that licensed facilities cost about $2,200 per bed per
month while the unlicensed facilities can cost as little as $510 per
month. Clearly at $2,200 per month there are budget constraints that
restrict the number of addicts that can be treated at any given time.

Union Gospel Mission, Inner Visions, and Hope for Freedom Society are
examples of well run facilities that are unlicensed yet Fraser Health
prefers to ignore them.

Surely if the FHA was to fund addicts to go to the well-run unlicensed
facilities, which operate accredited programs with skilled staff, the
number of addicts receiving quality treatment would increase
dramatically. Spending precious funds on a bureaucratic licensing
process rather than treatment does a disservice to addicts, their
families, and all the rest of us who are victims in one way or another
to the problems of addictions.

There are ways to ensure that drug treatment facilities are accredited
and well run without expensive bureaucracy. What seems to be missing
within the Fraser Health Authority is the will to make this happen.


MLA, Maple Ridge-Mission 
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MAP posted-by: Steve Heath