Media Contacts

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions

250 880-7117


Facts about substance-use care on Vancouver Island
  • As of August 2023, there were 3,277 publicly funded adult and youth community substance-use treatment beds in British Columbia, of which 664 were on Vancouver Island.
  • Since 2017, the government has made available more than 400 beds, including 132 on Vancouver Island.
  • Treatment and recovery beds represent a small part of a broader continuum of care for people living with addiction.
  • Other services the government has been expanding to support people with addiction who are on their pathway to wellness include outpatient withdrawal-management services and medication-assisted treatment.
  • In summer 2023, the Province included medication-assisted treatment such as opioid agonist treatment (OAT) as part of its universal coverage plan. Any B.C. resident with medical services plan (MSP) coverage can access this life-saving treatment option free of charge.
    • The number of people dispensed OAT in the month of August 2023 was 24,396. As of August, more than 140 registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses in all health authorities have completed training so that they can prescribe this treatment; 100 more are currently enrolled and are in training.
  • The Province is opening complex-care housing for people living with complex mental-health and substance-use challenges who are at risk of homelessness. These services are being created in communities throughout the province, including services for up to 130 people on Vancouver Island.
What people are saying about substance-use, mental-health care on Vancouver Island

Grace Lore, MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill

“Opening more beds to help people who use drugs means that more people will be able to access the supports they need when they are ready. I’m grateful for the teams that are operating these beds and the incredible work that community partners and front-line workers are doing to saves lives in B.C.”

Josie Osborne, MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim

“These 40 new treatment and recovery beds, including the 10 in Port Alberni, will provide mental-health and substance-use services that meet people where they are located at. They are an important part of the continuum of services for people in our community who are struggling with substance-use challenges.”

Mitzi Dean, MLA for Esquimalt Metchosin

“People and communities continue to be hurt by the toxic-drug crisis across our province. We can’t go on with this situation. Our government is investing in new treatment beds in Island communities so that people using drugs can get the care they need when they need it.”

Murray Rankin, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head

“People are continuing to lose their lives to toxic drugs and our government is acting by investing in services for the people who need them. More treatment beds will mean that more people can access the support they need to heal and stabilize their lives in their community.”  

Rob Fleming, MLA for Victoria-Swan Lake

“People struggling with mental health and addictions need access to safe and reliable services closer to home. That’s why our government is investing in services that support people throughout their recovery journey. This is critical work and these new beds are a small part of the drug-treatment system our government is building to turn the toxic-drug crisis around.”

Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo

“As increasing drug toxicity takes more lives at a terrible rate, we are working hard to build a system of care from the ground up. With today’s news, we've now funded 30 addiction-treatment beds in Nanaimo, up from zero just a few years ago, and there's more to do.”

Lisa Robinson, executive director, Kackaamin Family Development Centre

“These beds are an excellent start in addressing the needs of those requiring physical and cultural safety, so they can find other pathways of dealing with pain. With the overwhelming drug-poisoning crisis, all agencies need to come together in the creation of client-centred services.”

Christina Basedow, vice-president, national operations, Edgewood Health Network Canada

“We are so excited to be collaborating with Island Health in the provision of new beds to help residents of Vancouver Island. We are grateful to have the opportunity to provide excellent care for addiction and concurrent mental-health issues to those in need. Recovery is possible and we cannot wait to continue to help individuals find their pathway to better health and wellness.”

Stacey Petersen, chief executive officer, Cedars Recovery on Vancouver Island

“Addiction is a chronic brain disorder, not a moral failing, and Island Health knows that. Every person that is affected deserves help. Building increased treatment capacity to deal with the magnitude of addiction in our communities is going to take time, but this is a step in the right direction.”

Deanna Brady, vice-president and general manager, Homewood Ravensview

“I am very pleased to have Homewood Ravensview’s high-quality, evidence-based programming integrated with the Island Health system. This announcement will provide more publicly funded access to care, including to Ravensview’s outstanding team of addiction physicians, psychiatrists, therapists and nurses who deliver excellent outcomes, particularly for those suffering from the concurrent challenges of substance use and other mental-health issues.”

Sharlene Law, executive director, Umbrella Society

“There is a significant need for treatment options for individuals struggling with substance-use issues. I am pleased to see the creation of more beds in our community to help people access recovery and improve their health and wellness.”