The future: What are the next steps to improving a fractured drug-treatment system?

published on July 25, 2018 by Lori Culbert and Daphne Bramham in The Province

Sumit Ahuja is trying to raise money for people who can’t afford drug treatment through a new society that he launched after hitting rock bottom last year with his own struggles with addiction.

“I felt paralyzed by the stigma associated with addiction and I didn’t reach out for help sooner. I wish I had because it ultimately led to me wanting to end my life in March of 2017,” said the Surrey lawyer, a married father of two who started his recovery from alcohol and cocaine addiction more than a year ago.

“Timely access to an addictions centre is vital, in my opinion, and that is a concern I’ve seen is people being unable to get into these centres quickly.”

Ahuja had the money to pay for an excellent treatment centre. But these facilities are expensive, so only easily accessible to people with money, those with a good union or workplace benefits program, or people on welfare who get government assistance.

In April, Ahuja and several other professionals launched the LiveBIG society, which has teamed up with a treatment centre and aims to raise money to help people who can’t afford to pay.

In the future, Ahuja would like to see the addictions system in B.C. be more affordable, ensure all treatment centres offer good-quality care, and to “smash the stigma” of drug use, so more people will ask for help.

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