As the cries for help in combating the opioid crisis gripping British Columbia continue, Castlegar will see a new facility opening that will hopefully give local care providers another resource in the fight.
Axis Family Resources (AFR) has received a contract from Interior Health to provide eight withdrawal beds in Castlegar. AFR has been providing services in the Kootenays since 2007. In Castlegar they currently provide specialized residential services for children and youth through contracts with the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
The facility will be located at 2528 Columbia Ave. in the former Apostolic church building. AFR was granted a development permit by Castlegar city council Monday night to commence renovations of the property including construction of an addition to the building. The property already falls under the zoning designation of Public and Institutional (P-1) so no zoning amendments were needed. It also already falls under the Official Community Plan for limited institutional uses.
The program that will be operated out of the facility will provide community-based withdrawal management services for adults. The program is voluntary and clients will stay for three to five days.
According to AFR’s CEO Ann Smith, clients will be “cared for to withdraw safely from the substances they have been using. They will be provided with healthy meals, supportive counselling and discharge planning.”
Once released, staff will endeavor to connect clients with longer-term support and recovery addiction services throughout the region.
To participate in the program individuals must be referred by a physician and medically cleared cleared prior to admission. While in the program, clients are not allowed to leave the facility — if they leave, they will be discharged and will need a new referral to come back. A minimum of two staff will be on site at all times and there will be no sleep shifts.
AFR hopes to have the facility operational by March. They will be hiring nurses, licensed practical nurses and withdrawal management workers.