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Interior Health adds new substance use treatment option

Five new Integrated Treatment Teams have been introduced in the Interior Health region, offering another option for those seeking assistance with substance use.

“Stigma drives people to use alone and that isolation has been disastrous with the overdose crisis and the pandemic combined,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Embedding these new multidisciplinary teams in communities will provide a clear path for people to access the health care they need and to be seen with dignity, compassion, and respect.”

IH said the five new teams will be located in the Penticton, West Kelowna, Kamloops, Cranbrook, and the Enderby / Salmon Arm areas.

“Everyone’s experience of addiction is unique, and their path to wellness is unique, as well,” said Susan Brown, Interior Health president and CEO. “That’s why at the foundation of Integrated Treatment Teams is the ability to meet people’s individual needs on their schedule, and to work with them towards their own personalized treatment goals.”

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The members of the substance use treatment teams have been hired and trained over the winter and are now ready to see clients.

“This is a brand new team and a new approach,” said Lindsay Coughlin, a member of the Integrated Treatment Team for West Kelowna. “We provide more flexible, discreet treatment options for those who haven’t reached out before, including clients at risk of overdose or those who have significant substance use issues.”

IH said the teams will be confidential and discrete in nature to reduce the stigma of substance use.

“Often, when people think about addiction treatment they immediately think about inpatient facility-based treatment or ‘rehab’. However, evidence shows that accessing treatment in a community setting can have excellent outcomes. We offer substance use counseling and treatment online that is self-paced, something we haven’t offered before, and really supports people with work schedules and other responsibilities,” added Coughlin.

Teams will provide flexible treatment options, through both traditional approaches and virtual platforms, such as videoconferencing, phone and e-mail services.

IH said the services will depend on the needs and goals of the client.

More: Mental Health and Substance Use Services (Interior Health)

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