The Cowichan Valley is one step closer to seeing a new sobering and assessment program, which will help keep people out of jail.
It’s all about providing a safe, temporary place for people to recover from intoxication due to drug or alcohol use while looking for ways to connect to other services.
“This program will help improve the care experience by offering sobering services in a setting more suitable than previous alternatives, such as the emergency department or police station,” said Lisa Murphy, Island Health’s director, Mental Health and Substance Use, central/north Island. “Sobering and assessment services also provide opportunities for individuals to access other health, social and housing supports.”
Island Health issued a request for proposals in March to find an owner/operator of a community based, sobering and assessment program to be operated in Duncan. Working in collaboration with partner organizations from the Cowichan Sobering and Detox Task Force, the Canadian Mental Health Association-Cowichan Valley Branch was selected to operate the new service, slated for opening in December.
The program will be open year-round out of Warmland House and provide up to six 24 hour/day sobering and assessment beds and related services. Clients will have an opportunity to use laundry and showering facilities, receive healthy snacks and a safe place to sleep.
It’s an important part of the community’s support system, said James Tousignant, executive director of Canadian Mental Health Association-Cowichan Valley Branch.
“We are really excited. It’s been a long time coming and now we are able to provide a full continuum of services for men and women in the Cowichan Valley, from sobering and assessment, to emergency shelter beds, transitional apartments and recovery housing,” he said.
The Sobering and Detox Task Force was led by Our Cowichan Communities Health Network and included representatives from the Cowichan Valley Regional Hospital District, Duncan RCMP, Cowichan Tribes, Hiiye’yu Lelum House of Friendship, Island Health and other community partners.
Working together, they looked at existing substance use services and then tried to find effective solutions.