How Canada’s Rehab Centres are Failing Drug Users

published on November 4, 2016 by Rachel Browne in VICE

Even though she’s next on the list for a bed at one of Manitoba’s best mental health and drug treatment facilities, Destiny Bohemier has been waiting from a hospital in Brandon, Manitoba for more than 10 months. Her friends tried to crowdfund enough money to pay for a private facility that would let her in right away, but it was unsuccessful.

Bohemier has spent many of her 26 years addicted to drugs and suffers from psychological and eating disorders. She was admitted to the Brandon hospital after her latest suicide attempt. At the height of her addiction, she was buying fentanyl patches off the street; shooting and chewing them. Countless overdoses have almost killed her.

In October, BC Premier Christy Clark struck a new opioid research group, led by Dr. Evan Wood, who recently admitted there are faults in the addictions services available across the province.

Wood told reporters that many drug users fall through the cracks and relapse after undergoing detox unless they are immediately admitted to rehabilitation, because their tolerance has weakened and the risk of fatal overdose greatly increases. Another major issue is that most facilities require a doctor’s referral, something that can add weeks to the wait.

Eventually, Staddon and Gwynevere gave up calling the facility. The teen tried to stop using on her own. She showed progress for a couple weeks when she enrolled in a detox centre””which also have their own waitlists””but it was impossible to get away from the drugs. Even when she picked up her prescription for suboxone, a medication like methadone that helps quell withdrawal symptoms, Staddon says there were dealers lurking outside the pharmacy doors.

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