A recent Times Colonist article, in which a Victoria father pleads for the power to check his 15-year-old daughter who is addicted to heroin into rehab, has brought the issue of forced rehab front-and-centre in British Columbia.
Multiple provinces, including Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec have legislation that allows concerned parents to send their children to mandatory addiction treatment programs.
B.C., however, does not, which raises the question of whether or not it should be allowed in the province.
Peter Beka, Youth Program Coordinator at Last Door Treatment Centre in New Westminster spoke to Steele & Drex on Monday about whether or not the practice should make its way into B.C.
LISTEN: Peter Beka talks the pros and cons of forced rehab
Beka starts by saying forced treatment is a very tricky issue, with its share of positives and negatives.
He says that it’s an effective way to get a teenage child into treatment, particularly when they will not admit they have a problem.
Beka says he’s seen many frustrated families in his line of work, particularly when dealing with someone resistant to treatment.
“It’s extremely hard to deal with someone who is active in substance use and the behavior and lifestyle of someone who is using substances.”
He also says he understands the rationale of the father in the article.
“If it were my kids I would do anything I could to support them accessing some sort of service to stop the destructive behavior and risks involved with substance abuse.”
However, he also says there are some issues with forced treatment.
Namely, the fact that involuntary treatment tends to be much less successful than voluntary treatment.
Those who are looking to make a change in their lives are much more committed to kicking a habit, Beka says.
“Most people that are checking into treatments or reaching out and asking for help have already made that first step.”
And those who aren’t committed to getting clean run the risk of relapsing, often in a much more destructive way.
However, Beka says when an addiction gets severe enough, the choice between treating it or maintaining your child’s independence is no choice at all.
“By the time you’re fully in it and can’t get out, you’ve really given up control of decision making because it’s making all the decisions in your life.”