Pathways Addictions Centre is in jeopardy of closing after Interior Health has pulled all its funding and will be taking over addiction services ‘in house’ as up May 31. (Facebook)

Pathways Addictions Centre is in jeopardy of closing after Interior Health has pulled all its funding and will be taking over addiction services ‘in house’ as up May 31. (Facebook)

Future of South Okanagan community’s addictions centre in jeopardy after Interior Health pulls funding

Pathways has been in Penticton for over 20 years and has 10 staff, serving around 1,000 people

Pathways Addictions Centre is in jeopardy of closing after Interior Health (IH) has pulled all its funding and will be taking over addiction services ‘in house’ as up May 31.

Pathways Addictions Resource Centre has been served notice by IH that they are ‘repatriating” the three addictions contracts that Pathways has run for over 20 years.

According to Daryl Meyers, executive director of Pathways, IH is giving them until May 31, where they will be transitioning all the addictions services in-house to establish “a single point of access” to develop team based care with IH clinicians.

Considering IH makes up 95 per cent of Pathway’s budget, the centre that provides out-patient treatment programs is now in jeopardy of closing. Pathways’s has 10 staff.

READ MORE: Penticton’s addiction treatment centre talks demographic of clients, challenges

Interior Health told Meyers that they’ve had a long relationship with Pathways and it’s not about the service that Pathways has provided.

So where does this leave clients?

Pathways has been instructed to prepare to transition clients to IH.

“What this looks like is unknown at this time but in the meantime we are making every effort to support our current clients through their treatment plan,” said Meyers.

Pathways will be meeting with IH over the coming months to develop a transition plan. Pathways serves over 1,000 clients a year and both the staff and board are very concerned how this transition process is going to take place.

“Every client who comes through our door is in an extremely vulnerable situation and being able to provide timely service at a community level is key,” said Meyers.

Pathways recognizes everyone is disturbed about the overdose numbers but that is just a very small percentage of the clients they serve, said Meyers. Alcohol is still the number one drug that brings people through the door and the deaths from alcohol are staggering as well. Staff hope that alcohol use disorder clients will receive the same service once the transition takes place.

Pathways is uncertain how they will remain open after May 31. The staff and board are determined to stay open.

“Our wish is to continue to serve the community and are working on some initiatives and alternative funding sources to hopefully make this happen,” said Meyers.

More to come.

READ MORE: Fentanyl toxicity rises, carfentanil deaths spike: 165 fatal overdoses in 1st month of 2021

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


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