New Penticton non-profit society aims to tackle alcohol use disorder with compassion and medical expertise

New help for alcohol abuse

Penticton has a new national non-profit organization aimed at spreading a message of hope and healing when it comes to alcohol use disorder, thanks to the vision of a local physician. 

Dr. Jeff Harries is the driving force behind the Canadian Alcohol Use Disorder Society, newly formed in town.

“There’s such a huge need out there,” says Lori Motluk, the new society’s board chair. “Clinicians are interested in learning about new treatments, and patients and families want to find out how to access them. We know it will take time for the information to reach everyone, but with the society, we’ve hit the ground running.” 

The society is spreading awareness about medical treatments in conjunction with counselling and other supports all while upholding Dr. Harries' vision for compassionate understanding of alcohol use disorder as a medical condition. 

They have hit the ground running with projects, including presentations to doctors, clinicians and community groups, educational video development, leadership training, healthcare improvements, research initiatives, patient engagement and a new partnership with the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen. 

“We jumped at the chance to partner with CAUDS because we know that alcohol dependence affects so many people from all walks of life,” said Aaron McRann, executive director of the SOS Community Foundation.

“Alcohol use disorder is at the heart of so many social issues like homelessness, domestic violence and unemployment. If we can address a root cause of these issues then maybe we can get out in front of the problems we keep funding every year.” 

Currently, six medications are available that can ease withdrawal symptoms and provide freedom from cravings, allowing for the work of healing and recovery to take place. The medications most often only need to be taken for a few months. 

“I’m thrilled CAUDS was created to continue spreading the news that alcohol use disorder can be more successfully treated when certain medications are used temporarily along with counselling, peer support and reconnection to family and culture,” said society founder Dr. Jeff Harries. 

To learn more about The Canadian Alcohol Use Disorder Society, watch a short video about AUD, or to make a donation, visit their website or follow their Twitter @cauds_org. 

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