-With files from Kyle Benning.
Those looking to beat their opioid drug addiction in the safety of their own home will now be able to do so.
Amidst a public health crisis, Vancouver Coastal Health has rolled out a two week at-home program.
Dr. John Alvarez de Lorenzo with VCH says it’s for people who may not want to go to a clinic or stay in a facility.
“We work on transitioning them to safer substitutions to say fentanyl or heroin….what they can be using. And, in other cases we are doing more basic withdrawal, like alcohol or other substances.”
Alvarez de Lorenzo says the program includes visits from health officials during the first week.
After that, clients are connected with resources, where they are also given take-home Naloxone kits.
In order to be considered for the program, you must be 19 or older and live in Vancouver, and you must have someone by your side 24 hours a day throughout the withdrawal process.
Earlier this year, B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer declared a public health emergency, because of opioid overdose deaths.
Support from other detox program officials
In the meantime, a Metro Vancouver drug detox program developer is glad Vancouver Coastal Health is putting the quick-response program in place — even if the plan has some problems.
Director of Program Development at Last Door Recovery Society, Louise Cooksey, says the option to allow people to detox at home may have some negative effects.
“You have people detoxing at home around their children for instance. It’s not a pleasant experience to see somebody that sick. But it’s better than them being around the parent using, isn’t it? But still, it’s a very stressful thing for a family.”
However, she says the new strategy benefits the working poor who don’t qualify for welfare subsidies for receiving treatment.
Cooksey says getting a spot into detox treatment can take a couple weeks and this program could relieve that wait time.
“The idea that a person will detox in a program that also provides residential services … it’s a nice segway into, ‘Okay, I’m detoxing. I’m just going to check into this program because I’m already here.'”
She is surprised Vancouver Coastal Health is implementing this program now after Fraser Health put one in place six years ago.
Last month, a government report found there were 69 overdose deaths in Vancouver during the first half of 2016.