The Martin Street care centre will focus on substance use and urgent care. (Brennan Phillips Western News)

Interior Health announces expanded addictions services in Penticton

IH pulls funding from Pathways May 31 to bring substance use services in-house

On the heels of pulling funding from Pathways Addictions Resource Centre, Interior Health has announced that it is expanding substance abuse counselling in Penticton.

Through a press release issued Tuesday May 25, IH said it is expanding its mental health and substance use services in the South Okanagan and is now accepting new substance use counselling clients.

Anyone looking for mental health and substance use supports can call 310-MHSU (6478) to be connected to community-based MHSU services.

Calls will be automatically routed to the nearest community MHSU centre, where staff will determine the caller’s needs and connect them to the appropriate service. People do not need a referral to access supports, anyone can call.

Interior Health will stop funding Pathways as of May 31. Pathways, which has operated successfully and helped more than 1,000 people a year, has been in Penticton for 40 years.

Nearly all of Pathway’s funding has come from Interior Health. It was in February when IH announced it would pull funding to bring addictions and mental health in-house.

READ MORE: Protests grow as Interior Health prepares to pull funding

Last Wednesday, on income assistance day, Penticton recorded a record number of overdoses and the most in the Okanagan.

READ MORE: Penticton records most overdoses in the Okanagan

Since then, rallies have been held every Sunday supporting keeping Pathways open. There has also been fundraisers and some donations made to keep Pathways open.

The new Urgent and Primary Care Centre on Martin Street is focusing on substance use services.

READ MORE: New urgent and primary care opens in Penticton

IH said as well as phoning the number, people can also visit the following sites in-person to access MHSU services throughout the South Okanagan:

· Penticton: Urgent and Primary Care Centre, Penticton Health Centre, Penticton Regional Hospital Outpatient Psychiatry, The Foundry, and Martin Street Outreach Centre.

· Keremeos: Keremeos Health Centre

· Princeton: Princeton General Hospital

· Oliver: Desert Sun and Bateman House

· Osoyoos: Osoyoos Health Centre

Interior Health has added new full-time mental health and substance use clinicians to deliver youth and adult substance use services in the South Okanagan. To support the individual needs of clients, services are provided in office, in community settings, and/or by virtual technology, it said in their press release.

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