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Substance-use treatment services available in B.C. for adults and youth

British Columbia has a range of substance-use treatment services available throughout the province. The pathway to recovery is different for everyone, and it is important that people receive the right services for their level of need at the time. Substance-use treatment must be responsive to each individual’s needs, goals and current context including their family and community.

Substance-use services are accessible where they are needed, in the community, and cover a wide range of needs, including assessment, referral, counselling, social supports, and at-home and day-hospital withdrawal management and opioid agonist treatment.

People access a variety of substance-use services and supports based on individual goals and assessed need by a health-care professional. People access the appropriate treatment based on a variety of factors, such as their age, social connections (e.g., pregnant, parent of young children), health condition, substance of addiction and previous treatment history. People may be referred to one or a combination of treatment options as part of their recovery journey.

As of March 31, 2017, there are 500 additional substance-use treatment beds available in B.C., for a total of more than 2,700 substance-use treatment beds throughout the province.

Click here for a breakdown of the 500 new beds by region:

Types of publicly funded substance-use treatment beds

  • Supportive Recovery: these are low to moderate, time-limited supports and services in a safe environment for people with substance-use problems. People may go into supportive recovery to prepare to enter residential treatment, as a transitional step after leaving intensive residential treatment to help them reintegrate into the community, or as a longer-term structured environment while preparing to transition into a more stable lifestyle. Activities may include coaching for daily living, community reintegration, vocational and educational planning, participating in mutual aid supports, and some counselling and case management. Individuals access outpatient and other community treatment services and supports.   
  • Transitional Services: these are temporary residential settings that provide short- to medium- term medical and clinical supports for individuals requiring stabilization or transition to safe housing. Clinical services such as primary care, medication management as well as diabetes, Hepatitis C and HIV care is available in supported housing or shelters for people with the most complex health needs.
  • Residential Treatment: this is time-limited, live-in intensive treatment (typically 60-90 days) for people with substance-use problems. Treatment includes group and one-on-one counselling, medical consultations, as well as life skills training, family support programs and art therapy.
  • Withdrawal Management: this is a short-term service (up to seven days) that provides medical and clinical support to people withdrawing from substances. Withdrawal management takes place in different settings, including community, hospital (required for alcohol and barbiturates) and home (with clinical team support).
  • Tertiary/Concurrent: These are specialized in-patient services for individuals with the highest complexity of need and the most chronic conditions, and who require more intensive, longer-term treatment, ranging from three to 24 months or longer. Assessment, treatment and support services are offered to individuals who are experiencing any combination of mental-health and substance-use disorders, and/or treatment of medical complications co-occurring with their substance-use disorder.
  • Sobering and Assessment: these are safe, short-term (less than 24 hours) places for people under the influence of substances. Monitoring of health is provides as it relates to acute intoxication. When possible, people are connected to other health-care services, such as detox, group therapy and one-on-one outpatient counselling.