John Volken Academy commits $1,000,000 to support BC Centre on Substance Use

published on May 23, 2017

May 23rd, 2017 (Coast Salish Territory – Vancouver, BC) – The John Volken Academy has committed $1,000,000 to support the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU), a world-class organization with a mandate to develop, help implement, and evaluate evidence-based approaches to substance use and addiction in B.C.

“We are committed to working with the BCCSU in supporting recovery based activities,” says John Volken, founder of the John Volken Academy. “Helping others has brought me tremendous joy and satisfaction. I believe that once we have provided for our families, we should then work for the good of all, especially the most vulnerable in our society.”

In 2016, the ongoing opioid crisis pushed the provincial death toll to an unprecedented peak of 914 overdose deaths, almost 80% higher than 2015. With studies showing that fewer than 1 in 10 patients struggling with substance use receive evidence-based treatment, the BCCSU aims to close the gap between research and practice to improve the health system for those struggling with problematic substance use.

“Thanks to the John Volken Academy’s gift, we’re able to support the important work of the BCCSU,” says Dick Vollet, President and CEO of St. Paul’s Foundation. “In the face of a public health emergency, continued collaboration and support is crucial as many people continue to face substantial barriers in their care.”

The gift from John Volken Academy will help promote a recovery-oriented system of care across the province. The partnership will help support the BCCSU’s engagement with those in recovery from substance use and helping those working to augment and support best practices for service provision in the area of addiction recovery.

In addition, Addiction Medicine Fellows – who are part of the largest interdisciplinary addiction medicine training program in North America hosted at BCCSU – will have the opportunity to train at the John Volken Academy as part of an orientation to therapeutic community models of care. This collaboration will further the BCCSU’s mission to train the next generation of leaders in addiction and recovery-oriented medicine.

“We know that addiction care must be a continuum from acute treatment through to after care models that include a range of services and supports including the recovery programs that can be an integral part of system for many,” says Dr. Evan Wood, Director of the BCCSU. “The support of the John Volken Academy will allow us to really engage with this sector and ultimately promote the best outcomes for persons who too frequently have nowhere to turn for help.”


About John Volken Academy
The John Volken Academy is a long-term, residential drug and alcohol treatment centre for young adults ages 19 to 32. It provides an environment that replicates real life while focusing on behavioral changes. The John Volken Academy supports its clients (referred to as students) as they learn to address and change the patterns they have developed in their lives that continue to produce poor outcomes.

Program participants advance their education, receive extensive career training, develop leadership and social skills, learn healthy communication, relapse prevention skills, and emotional regulation. These components of the program combine to build character. The John Volken Academy is much more than just a treatment centre- it is a life-skills academy. Residents adopt healthy new life-styles and gain all the tools they need to stay sober and live happy, successful lives.

The John Volken Academy is sponsored by private charitable foundations, friends of the Academy, and supporting businesses. Thanks to this funding, except for the one-time intake fee, the Program is free.

About British Columbia Centre on Substance Use
The BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU) is a provincially networked organization with a mandate to develop, help implement, and evaluate evidence-based approaches to substance use. Located at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver with researchers based at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University, the BCCSU aims to build upon the success of its partner organization, the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, by improving the integration of best practices and care across the continuum of responses to substance use through the collaborative development of policies, guidelines, and standards. With the support of the province of BC, BCCSU aims to transform substance use policies, programs, and services by translating research into education and care guidance, thereby serving and improving the health of all British Columbians.

About St. Paul’s Foundation
St. Paul’s Foundation raises funds to support inspired care, research, and teaching at St. Paul’s and other Providence Health Care hospitals and residences in British Columbia. St. Paul’s is a treasured provincial health resource for all British Columbians, specializing in the care of people with heart and lung disease, HIV/AIDS, mental illness, renal disease and people living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. We integrate the best clinical care with real-world research and education, and provide care to our patients from across BC who made more than 500,000 visits last year. For more information, or to donate, visit

Contact Information
Nick Anstee
Peak Communicators
604-689-5559 |

Kevin Hollett
Communications Lead
British Columbia Centre on Substance Use
778-918-1537 |

Michaela Davies
Digital Communications Specialist
St. Paul’s Foundation
604-806-8831 |