We need answers

It was recently announced that Interior Health will be withdrawing its funding to Pathways in Penticton as of May 31, 2021. That funding makes up 95% of Pathway’s operating budget. My initial reaction was one of total disbelief!

For over 45 years Pathways has provided an unwavering commitment to provide education and counselling to those impacted by alcohol and drug addiction. They provide hope to clients and their families. Their clients include some of the community’s most vulnerable; sometimes they are our sons and daughters, our wives and husbands, and our mothers and fathers. A thousand people a year use their services.

I have seen firsthand how important Pathways support can be to someone whose life is impacted by addiction. For my nephew, Pathways was a safe place with a friendly face, wise counsel and hope. Justin’s counsellor helped him explore options for rehab, lobbied on his behalf with rehab and medical personnel, helped him regroup when he relapsed, conducted an intervention to get him back into rehab, and all the while reminding him of his true worth. That is the kind of compassionate work Pathways staff does day in and day out.

Pathways also provides crucial support for caregivers. Living with someone whose life is impacted by addictions is not easy. My time with Pathways was invaluable to my own overall mental health. I know I am not alone in expressing my gratitude.

Justin is no longer with us; he passed in February 2020, one of too many caught up in this addiction epidemic. Part of my commitment to those who have lost the battle is to shine a light on the problem of addictions and push for solutions.

What happens now? If Pathways is to keep the doors open, they will need financial support. Where will that money come from? How can we help?

And - what about the IH model? It has been reported that Interior Health has a plan to put all the addictions services in-house to establish “a single point of access” to develop team-based care with IH clinicians. It is a lofty goal. They talk about being a nimble response to the changing needs of a client. I hope that is true. Will that “single point of access” be located in Penticton? What services will they provide? How accessible will they really be? Will clients sense it will be the safe place that Pathways is known to be?

Before we jeopardize Pathways’ future, we need answers.

May 31, 2021 is less than one hundred days away and the clock is ticking.

Marian Rudisill, Summerland

More Letters to the editor




The opinions expressed here are strictly those of the author. Castanet does not in any way warrant the information presented.

Visit our discussion forum
for these and other issues.

Previous Stories