Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart is renewing his call to use Riverview Hospital as a treatment centre as the province faces an opioid epidemic.
“Let’s see what we can do to put hundreds of beds to treat people with addictions, and to treat people with mental illness.”
Stewart is asking the government to put beds in a few of the old buildings, and run opioid replacement or abstinence programs.
“…there are several smaller buildings, like Leeside, with 20 or 30 beds, individual rooms, they have a kitchen and an eating area, and it’s designed perfectly for this. I’m contemplating where we take one or two other buildings like that, and allow some abstinence-based programs, all of them by non-government organizations as we sort this out.”
Stewart says there are three buildings often used by the film industry for hospital settings, and are in good shape.
He says the North, East and Center Lawn buildings need work but are 100% usable, as they all have light, heat, and some beds.
In an email to CKNW, the Ministry of Health says the government is investing more than $16 million to increase addictions treatment services in the short term.
The Ministry says this will include residential treatment beds, intensive outpatient services and removal of financial barriers for opioid addictions treatment medication.
“The Province has allocated $10 million for the new services, which will start opening in spring 2017. They are expected to be delivered by a combination of both private and health authority providers, depending on the outcome of the request for expressions of interest process,” reads part of the statement from the Ministry.
Ministry says over the next year, 240 people with opioid addiction will receive intensive residential treatment in 60 additional new beds, including 20 for youth and 40 adults.