First-of-its-kind, seamless addictions care available in Vancouver

published on December 4, 2023

Republished from BC Government News

People with addiction challenges are getting better, seamless treatment and recovery care through the new Road to Recovery initiative at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.

“The moment a person living with addiction chooses to reach out for help, they need to be met
with support, not left waiting for services,” said Premier David Eby. “Our government is taking
action by delivering mental-health and addictions care that works for everyone. Now, patients
will receive seamless support through detox, treatment and recovery, all from one dedicated
health-care team at St. Paul’s Hospital.”

There have been long-standing gaps in addictions care that have left people and their families
unsure of where to turn or what to do next throughout their recovery journey. Through Road
to Recovery, people will receive seamless services through each stage of detox, bed-based care
and recovery, and outpatient treatment, all from the same clinical team as well as connections
to ongoing health and social supports. The initiative has launched in Vancouver and will be
expanded to other regions in the province.

“The Road to Recovery model provides integrated care for people throughout every aspect of
their healing journey,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.
“Through these enhanced connections to care, more people will be able to move through their
recovery journey, knowing a dedicated care team is there for them every step of the way.”

New data shows 94 people have benefited from life-changing care through the Road to
Recovery initiative, utilizing 34 beds that began operating in fall.

When fully implemented in March 2025, Road to Recovery will operate 25 detox beds, 20
transition beds and 50 treatment and recovery beds in a seamless continuum of care.

“The window for a person to want recovery support can be very small,” said Ian Haynes, peer
co-ordinator at Road to Recovery. “Personally, there were so many times I was ready to get
help, but when I reached out for treatment, I was told I needed to wait for days, weeks,
sometimes months. By the time the date would come, my priorities would have changed. I
wouldn’t care anymore, so my substance-use disorder would continue. It’s great that now
people can access Road to Recovery services when they are ready and can get help in a more
streamlined way.”

The 34 beds in operation include 14 detox beds at St. Paul’s Hospital, opened in September
2023, and 20 transitional care beds in the community, opened in October 2023.

“This milestone represents the important first step toward making evidence-based addiction
care more accessible to people when they need it,” said Dr. Seonaid Nolan, addiction medicine physician, Providence Health Care. “Addiction-medicine clinicians, like myself, know
that being able to refer someone to the appropriate service and then provide followup care is
integral to supporting their wellness. The opening of the first phase of the Road to Recovery is
the realization of our vision of a full continuum of substance-use care within a single setting at
St. Paul’s Hospital that will make that ongoing care possible.”

As part of the Road to Recovery model, people living in Greater Vancouver can call Access
Central, a phone line for adults seeking withdrawal-management (WDM) services/detox and
receive a clinical assessment and same-day substance-use care referral from an addiction medicine physician and/or nurse.

Initially announced in March 2023, Road to Recovery is a partnership between the Province,
Providence Health Care, Vancouver Coastal Health and the BC Centre on Substance Use
(BCCSU) to address gaps in the system, allow people to access care more effectively and to
remove barriers as people transition to different services.

“The Road to Recovery initiative is an opportunity to transform how addiction care is delivered
in this province,” said Cheyenne Johnson, executive director, BC Centre on Substance
Use. “Through ongoing research and evaluation, it will ensure accessibility of the full continuum
of substance-use care, one that is co-ordinated, accessible, seamless and evidence-based, and
closes the gaps that currently exist between prevention, harm reduction, treatment and

The Road to Recovery initiative is part of the work to expand treatment options for people
living with mental-health and substance-use challenges and it’s an integral part of the
government’s work to address the toxic-drug crisis in B.C. Through Budget 2023, the Province
invested $1 billion to urgently increase and facilitate access to mental-health and addictions
care, including early intervention and prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery
services, and complex-care housing.

Todd Hoggard, Road to Recovery patient
“I came in with a lot of pain with my drug addiction. It goes along with my chronic pain. Coming
in the door, I said that I would give it another shot. I came into the Rapid Access Addiction
Clinic at St. Paul’s Hospital looking for help. That same day, I was here in a bed, which is
something entirely new. Usually it’s call back in a month.”

Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA, Vancouver-West End
“It’s really good to see Road to Recovery growing in Vancouver. Providing interconnected
services to people when they reach out for help and throughout their recovery journey really
works to help them get better.”

Bonnie Wilson, Vancouver community operations director team lead, Vancouver Coastal
“As we continue to see a growing need for substance-use and recovery services in Vancouver,
this new funding, along with our ongoing partnership with Providence and BCCSU, will bolster
our withdrawal management and bed-based programs, as we continue to care for everyone in the Vancouver community.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Province is providing $23.7 million in annual funding for the operation and
    monitoring of the Road to Recovery model and the expansion of the initiative to other
    regions across the province as part of Budget 2023.
  • As of June 2023, there are 3,277 publicly funded adult and youth community substance use beds.
  • Approximately 4,167 people were helped through publicly funded bed-based treatment
    services in 2022-23.

Learn More:
To watch a video provided by Providence Health Care, visit:

To learn about Road to Recovery, visit:

To learn about Road to Recovery evaluation, visit:

To learn about mental-health and substance-use supports in B.C., visit:

To read about A Pathway to Hope roadmap, government’s plan to build an integrated system
of mental-health and addictions care for people in B.C., visit: