Unclear where new youth treatment beds in BC will be located

Local youth treatment beds?

UPDATE: 3:35 p.m.

With the announcement of 123 new publicly funded substance abuse beds for youth in British Columbia Thursday morning, a local charity is hoping some of those beds will be coming to the Okanagan. 

The provincial government announced $36 million in funding through to 2022-23 for the new beds, to help support those aged 12 to 24 with addiction issues. But where these much-needed beds will be placed has yet to be announced. 

The Bridge Youth and Family Services, based out of the Central Okanagan, has been lobbying the provincial government for funding for long-term substance use beds for youth in Kelowna for sometime, as there are currently no publicly funded beds – and therefore free – for youth in the city. 

Last November, executive director Celine Thompson told Castanet they had been lobbying the government to open six beds in an existing facility at an annual cost of $1.1 million. The local charity has a longer term goal of securing funding for a $10-million, 16-bed Youth Recovery House in Kelowna. 

But Thompson says she hasn't heard yet where the newly announced funding will be going. 

"Given our advocacy efforts (and those of our municipal colleagues up and down the valley), we are optimistic it will be the Central Okanagan," she said "I’m waiting with bated breath!"

ORIGINAL: 11:05 a.m.

The B.C. Government says it is embarking on a multi-year plan to double the number of substance abuse treatment beds for youth in B.C.

The province is spending $36M through to 2022-23 to create 123 new beds for people aged 12 to 24. Locations are being determined in collaboration with health authorities. 

“For too long, young people and their families have faced long waits for treatment and a fragmented mental health and addictions system. Especially in these challenging times, young people shouldn’t have to wait for care. There’s much more to do, and we’re going to keep building a full continuum of mental health and addictions care for everyone in B.C.,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.

The first round of new beds is expected to be in place by the end of the fiscal year. There are currently just 124 withdrawal management and treatment and recovery beds for youth in the province, and none in the Okanagan.

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