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Better access to addiction treatment will help people on Vancouver Island

Press Release

Oct. 26, 2023

VICTORIA – People with addiction challenges now have better access to treatment and recovery options closer to home, with 40 more publicly funded substance-use treatment beds throughout Vancouver Island.

The beds are located on the south and mid-Island:

  • 15 beds at Cedars Recovery on Vancouver Island;
  • 10 beds at Edgewood Treatment Centre in Nanaimo;
  • five beds at Homewood Ravensview in North Saanich; and
  • 10 Indigenous-focused beds at Kackaamin Family Development Centre in Port Alberni.

“When people make the courageous decision to call for help, they need to be met with quality care close to their home,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “We are expanding access to substance-use treatment beds on Vancouver Island so that people will have options closer to home and get treatment while staying connected to their family and community.”

No-charge access to these treatment beds is supported by $8 million in provincial funding annually. With oversight and referral pathways provided by Island Health, it is estimated these beds will help approximately 200 people access treatment every year.

The treatment beds are part of the public health-care system and they are operated by a mix of for-profit and not-for-profit providers. The beds are available for people in the Island Health region at no cost by referral from a health-care professional. The length of treatment will vary depending on the individual and the program. It can range from 50 to 90 days. Following treatment, people are encouraged to participate in a nine-to-12-month virtual after-care program for continued support in their recovery.

“This represents a significant expansion and investment in substance-use services for clients experiencing dependence on substances including, but not limited to, alcohol or opioids,” said Leah Hollins, board chair, Island Health. “These are the first publicly funded treatment services of this kind on Vancouver Island. Previously, people would have to travel to the Lower Mainland for this level of intensive treatment.”

People looking for information about mental-health and substance-use services, including how to access treatment and referral eligibility, should reach out to Island Health’s mental-health and substance-use service line at 1 888 885-8824.

Expanding access to mental-health and addictions care is a critical part of A Pathway to Hope, B.C.’s road map for building a comprehensive system of mental-health and addictions care.

Learn More:

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

To learn about referral information, visit:

To learn about Mental Health and Substance Use Data Snapshot, visit:

A Pathway to Hope road map, government’s plan to build an integrated system of mental-health and addictions care for people in B.C.:

Two backgrounders follow.


Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions
250 880-7117


Facts about substance-use care on Vancouver Island

  • As of August 2023, there were 3,277 publicly funded adult and youth community substance-use treatment beds in British Columbia, of which 664 were on Vancouver Island.
  • Since 2017, the government has made available more than 400 beds, including 132 on Vancouver Island.
  • Treatment and recovery beds represent a small part of a broader continuum of care for people living with addiction.
  • Other services the government has been expanding to support people with addiction who are on their pathway to wellness include outpatient withdrawal-management services and medication-assisted treatment.
  • In summer 2023, the Province included medication-assisted treatment such as opioid agonist treatment (OAT) as part of its universal coverage plan. Any B.C. resident with medical services plan (MSP) coverage can access this life-saving treatment option free of charge.
    • The number of people dispensed OAT in the month of August 2023 was 24,396. As of August, more than 140 registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses in all health authorities have completed training so that they can prescribe this treatment; 100 more are currently enrolled and are in training.
  • The Province is opening complex-care housing for people living with complex mental-health and substance-use challenges who are at risk of homelessness. These services are being created in communities throughout the province, including services for up to 130 people on Vancouver Island.


Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions
250 880-7117


What people are saying about substance-use, mental-health care on Vancouver Island

Grace Lore, MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill –

“Opening more beds to help people who use drugs means that more people will be able to access the supports they need when they are ready. I’m grateful for the teams that are operating these beds and the incredible work that community partners and front-line workers are doing to saves lives in B.C.”

Josie Osborne, MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim –

“These 40 new treatment and recovery beds, including the 10 in Port Alberni, will provide mental-health and substance-use services that meet people where they are located at. They are an important part of the continuum of services for people in our community who are struggling with substance-use challenges.”

Mitzi Dean, MLA for Esquimalt Metchosin –

“People and communities continue to be hurt by the toxic-drug crisis across our province. We can’t go on with this situation. Our government is investing in new treatment beds in Island communities so that people using drugs can get the care they need when they need it.”

Murray Rankin, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head –

“People are continuing to lose their lives to toxic drugs and our government is acting by investing in services for the people who need them. More treatment beds will mean that more people can access the support they need to heal and stabilize their lives in their community.”

Rob Fleming, MLA for Victoria-Swan Lake –

“People struggling with mental health and addictions need access to safe and reliable services closer to home. That’s why our government is investing in services that support people throughout their recovery journey. This is critical work and these new beds are a small part of the drug-treatment system our government is building to turn the toxic-drug crisis around.”

Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo –

“As increasing drug toxicity takes more lives at a terrible rate, we are working hard to build a system of care from the ground up. With today’s news, we’ve now funded 30 addiction-treatment beds in Nanaimo, up from zero just a few years ago, and there’s more to do.”

Lisa Robinson, executive director, Kackaamin Family Development Centre –

“These beds are an excellent start in addressing the needs of those requiring physical and cultural safety, so they can find other pathways of dealing with pain. With the overwhelming drug-poisoning crisis, all agencies need to come together in the creation of client-centred services.”

Christina Basedow, vice-president, national operations, Edgewood Health Network Canada –

“We are so excited to be collaborating with Island Health in the provision of new beds to help residents of Vancouver Island. We are grateful to have the opportunity to provide excellent care for addiction and concurrent mental-health issues to those in need. Recovery is possible and we cannot wait to continue to help individuals find their pathway to better health and wellness.”

Stacey Petersen, chief executive officer, Cedars Recovery on Vancouver Island –

“Addiction is a chronic brain disorder, not a moral failing, and Island Health knows that. Every person that is affected deserves help. Building increased treatment capacity to deal with the magnitude of addiction in our communities is going to take time, but this is a step in the right direction.”

Deanna Brady, vice-president and general manager, Homewood Ravensview –

“I am very pleased to have Homewood Ravensview’s high-quality, evidence-based programming integrated with the Island Health system. This announcement will provide more publicly funded access to care, including to Ravensview’s outstanding team of addiction physicians, psychiatrists, therapists and nurses who deliver excellent outcomes, particularly for those suffering from the concurrent challenges of substance use and other mental-health issues.”

Sharlene Law, executive director, Umbrella Society –

“There is a significant need for treatment options for individuals struggling with substance-use issues. I am pleased to see the creation of more beds in our community to help people access recovery and improve their health and wellness.”


Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions
250 880-7117


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