Chelsea's Story

“I could tell her spirit was broken … she was never given a chance to get better because of the waitlists.” - Kimberly Christianson

2018 SAW BC SUFFER MORE THAN 1,500

FATAL OVERDOSES IN A SINGLE YEAR.

Image

" AT ITS VERY CORE, YOUTH TREATMENT IS ALL ABOUT PREVENTION: IF WE INVEST IN PEOPLE WHO ARE STRUGGLING WITH ADDICTION WHEN THEY ARE YOUNG, WE WILL IMPACT THE SAFETY, VIBRANCY AND HEALTH OF THE OKANAGAN FOR YEARS TO COME. "

- Celine Thompson
Executive Director

YOUTH CASUALTIES RISING

With the onset of the pandemic in 2020, BC will exceed the record 1,547 drug toxicity deaths set in 2018. For every year since 2016, the number of deaths due to overdose in this province exceeds the rate of mortality from motor vehicle accidents, suicide and homicide combined. For young people, even casual and recreational use of drugs can have deadly effect. Young people struggling with addiction take their lives into their hands each and every day of continued use.

Service Image

CHILDREN ARE STRUGGLING TO COPE

The majority of participants at Bridgeway, our adult treatment program, tell us their addiction began in their youth. This reported age of onset is typical and consistent with the literature. Due to systemic inequalities, cultural and structural factors, indigenous youth, youth in care of government and youth who belong to the LGBTQIA2S+ community are at increased risk to experience the negative consequences of addiction and mental health challenges.

Service Image

THERE IS AN ALARMING GAP

There are fewer than 70 publicly funded addiction treatment beds for youth in all of BC. Just four of those beds are designated for the Okanagan’s young people, between the ages of 17 to 24, and there are NO publicly funded treatment centres available to children under 17. Yet Statistics Canada reports 68,000 youth in Canada meet the diagnostic criteria for problematic addiction. While the majority of these youth will not need intensive treatment, the limited number of beds available does not come close to meeting the need. And we know, based on the referrals to our Youth Detox, and the data from the BC Coroner’s report, that we need to have places of solace, learning, recovery and healing for children as young as 12 and 13. Perhaps younger.

Service Image