Detox concerns surface

Lack of services may impact Vernon residents struggling with addiction

There is a concern that a lack of services will leave some Vernon residents struggling with addiction.

Kelowna’s Crossroads Treatment Centre recently announced it will phase out detox and addiction counselling over the next six months because of financial challenges. It is the only facility of its kind in the region.

“It’s a huge public health issue not to have detox,” said Rob Sawatzky, Vernon’s mayor and a retired physician.

Since Crossroads made its announcement, Vernon social agencies have been considering ways to provide residents access to drug and alcohol treatment.

One of the challenges, though, is there is no additional money available from the government.

“If we get creative with existing service and work with the Interior Health Authority, we may be able to expand the service,” said Annette Sharkey, Social Planning Council executive director.

In other matters, social agencies continue to focus on the homeless.

“There is one homeless camp that we know about and people are sleeping outside in the winter,” said Sharkey.

In May 2012, there were no camps in Vernon and there were two in September.

“We are getting better at connecting people with services and bringing people inside,” said Sharkey.