The BC Centre on Substance Use is recommending ways to improve addiction recovery across B.C. and shift the focus from preventing overdose deaths to comprehensive long-term care.
In a report released Wednesday, the centre said recovery in B.C. has historically focused on harm reduction and acute treatment as it works to curb the more than three overdose deaths occurring each day.
The centre issued 39 action items that it said serve as a blueprint for the B.C. government, including the creation of “recovery high schools” where formal education would be provided alongside treatment.
“There has been a longstanding need to expand effective, evidence-based recovery services in B.C. – a need that has become even more urgent in the midst of an overdose crisis,” director Dr. Evan Wood said in a news release.
“Addiction care must be a continuum from harm reduction and acute treatment through to continuing care and recovery management models that include a range of services and supports such as integrated recovery programs.”
Other recommendations include implementing phone programs for smaller communities where people seek help, as well as offering per-diem rates for treatment to support underserved and vulnerable people.
Some of the recommendations have already been introduced by health authorities that see the largest portions of overdose deaths, including anti-stigma campaigns and educational support for physicians and nurse practitioners.
The report also looks to how municipalities can bring in legal and licensed recovery centres. The centre called on the province to establish a template for cities on zoning and licensing of recovery homes and treatment centres, as well as create a mandatory certificate program for recovery home operators.
A request for comment has been made to the ministry for mental health and addictions.
More than 600 people died of an illicit drug overdose between January and May in B.C.