The City of Penticton will be funding one-quarter of a program to teach 15 volunteer “recovery coaches,” who will help locals to overcome their addictions. (Pixabay)

City funding $5,000 for ‘recovery coach’ training

That will cover a quarter of the costs for 15 coaches to help locals overcome addictions

The city will be moving forward with a $5,000 grant for a program that would provide training for “recovery coaches” for addicts in Penticton.

The program was proposed to council by Smart Recovery regional co-ordinator and meeting facilitator Judy Poole.

“My family, like so many, has been touched by addiction. Perhaps ‘slammed by addiction’ is more appropriate wording,” Poole said. “For a total of eight years, I learned more than I ever wanted to about substance use.”

Related: IH Board to discuss escalating overdose crisis

As B.C.’s fentanyl crisis persists, Poole said the local Smart Recovery friends and family chapter has found some gaps in services for those struggling with addictions.

“Existing services are, for the most part, nine to five. Appointments are hard to get, and if you miss one, you wait weeks for the next appointment,” Poole said. “People that are using substances tend to miss appointments. The process to get into treatment is complicated enough that those of us without addiction and mental health issues would find it difficult, nevermind those with challenges.”

After helping a woman deal with legal issues, enrolling into detox and renewing her methadone, Poole said the local Smart Recovery group found peer support to be particularly successful, with that woman now seven months clean and living in second-stage housing.

That’s when the group stumbled on recovery coaching, Poole said, noting the practice is up-and-coming in the U.S., but “unheard of in Canada.”

Related: IH chair: The drugs are here, we need intelligent approach

Poole said she has taken training from the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery in Hartford, Connecticut, and asked council for $5,000 to help fund training for 15 more recovery coaches in the city and two facilitators to teach the materials locally.

Coaches will work with recovering addicts during treatment, detox and other processes, with hopes of being available in emergency wards, courthouses and jails in the future.

“For those not familiar with a drug and alcohol treatment program, it’s like being in a bubble. They are wonderful places to get clean and start the healing process,” she said, noting few do an “adequate job” of preparing those in recovery for the “real world.”

That’s where the recovery coaches would be of the most assistance, providing peer support through the more challenging aspects of recovery.

The first set of training would cost about $20,000, according to Poole, with training set for the end of the month, and the group has a $5,000 commitment from the Raymond James Canada Foundation.

Related: Concerns growing about Penticton street life

Asked what would happen if the city funded its $5,000 portion, but the group was unable to find the remaining $10,000, Poole noted that she managed to get herself into the training without funding.

In a report to council, staff recommended city hall approve the cash grant, taking funds from the ‘other grants’ portion.

“This whole topic is acute. People are in dire situations, and in fact dying from the consequences,” Coun. Judy Sentes said in council, agreeing that there are gaps identified in the system. “We have wonderful opportunities for people to go through rehab, if you will, but they put them back out onto the street without any support.

“So, I’m keenly sensitive to that gap; it’s now, it’s not tomorrow or next year. It’s now, and so I’m pleased we’ve shown the flexibility to address that.”

Council voted unanimously in favour of the grant.

Related: Drug users say methadone switch contributed to B.C.’s opioid crisis


@dustinrgodfrey

dustin.godfrey@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penticton Vees recognized on and off ice success

The awards were given out following their Saturday night win.

Dale family was prominent in Summerland’s past

Ruth Dale taught for many years

Penticton Vees comeback for overtime win to end regular season

The Vees were down 3-0 to start the third before putting together an epic comeback.

PHOTOS: Celebrating diversity in Penticton

Seventh annual OneWorld Festival celebrates the worlds of different cultures in the South Okanagan.

Fiery collision involving truck closes Highway 1 at Three Valley Gap

Drivers should expect major delays and congestion; estimated time of re-opening is 2 p.m.

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

First win, fifth win highlight BC Senior Curling finals

Donna Mychaluk wins first title after finishing second five times; Wes Craig takes fifth crown

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Kelowna Firefighters douse suspicious hedge fire

A 30’ section of cedar hedge burned prompting an RCMP investigation.

Kelowna RCMP make arrest in fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Elijah Beauregard

An 18-year-old woman is in police custody facing a manslughter charge.

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Most Read