Outreach Centre care praised

A life of drugs, crime and homelessness for one Penticton teen has been reversed thanks to support from an outreach centre.

Outreach Centre care praised

A life of drugs, crime and homelessness for one Penticton teen has been reversed thanks to support from an outreach centre.

“As a mother of an out-of-control teenager in a community with very limited support for troubled youth, I was helpless to stop my daughter’s downward spiral and had to watch and wait on the sidelines, hoping she would hit bottom and turn to her family for a solution,” said the mother of a client at the Martin Reach Outreach Centre which held its grand opening on Oct. 23.

Rock bottom never came and for the woman who wished to remain anonymous to protect her daughter, her child’s suffering only became more severe over the next five years. The program at the centre, which recently relocated from the Penticton Health Centre on Carmi Avenue to Martin Street, has been invaluable to the family as the daughter is faced with challenges in her journey to sobriety.

The mother spoke of how her daughter’s dark path began as a teenager and how the Outreach Centre has changed their lives.

“At that time she became involved with some of the worst criminal elements in our community and street drugs, which have now left her with a life sentence of several very serious health issues.”

Her daughter had been admitted to the hospital many times as a result of drug abuse. While being treated for a heart valve infection in the spring of 2014, she was introduced to a new initiative, the Intensive Case Management program.

The mother said the program, along with its manager Sharlene Deverill-Franklin, have been a “god send” and an “invaluable ally.”

“I was at the end of my rope emotionally and I was spending many sleepless nights waiting for that phone call, informing me my daughter was dead from an overdose or abuse.”

After seeing the effects first hand, the mother said greater public funding is needed for such programs.

“We need to have programs in place that prevent our young people from creating enormous, lifelong health issues which cost us the taxpayers far in the long run than the Intensive Case Management program working on prevention or intervention,” said Deverill-Franklin. “Our most valuable asset in our country is our young people. Let’s not make them disposable items that can be thrown away through addiction and crime.”

A drug motivated lifestyle was all client Tana Wyatt knew. Crystal meth ruled her life, that is until she found the Intensive Case Management program at the Outreach Centre.

“Now I have a house in my name, I have a very important person in my life and we’ve been together for two years — the exact same time I’ve been a client here,” she said.

While the clinic made invaluable differences before its relocation, those directly involved believe the more practical location on Martin Street will open the door towards treatment for more people.

“When we were working out of the health centre, it was the same idea but it was so geographically isolated that we found there were a lot of no-shows,” said Dr. Kyle Stevens. “Being located down here makes it much easier for them to stop in and ask, ‘is my appointment today or tomorrow?’ Versus up at the health centre.”

Stevens said there are around 350 clients in the program right now, and they’re prepared to see that number grow to be as large as 1,000, though he admits the patient population is difficult to measure, as those with substance abuse issues often don’t vote or have residences. The program works to keep its clients with existing family doctors when possible, but since many of their clients don’t have one, the outreach centre’s new location has been set up downtown to serve as “basically a fully functional general practitioners office.”

MLA Dan Ashton, who attended the grand opening, said he strongly believes the new clinic will benefit the community.

“We all know that healthcare is evolving,” he said. “It’s changing and the order of change, the magnitude is substantial, but it’s organizations and opportunities like this that will hopefully be the way of the future.”

Newly elected South Okanagan – West Kootenay MP Richard Cannings said he and the NDP are also in support.

“Mental health and addictions in particular are something we’ve been ignoring for far too long. They haven’t been treated the way other health issues have been treated. They’ve been put away in the closet and we need to bring them out and help people,” he said. “A community clinic like this is so needed because it can help people who have a hard time going to a family doctor, or would otherwise end up in the hospital and costing the system so much more.”

 

Just Posted

There was high voter turnout for the first of three advance voting days for the Penticton city by-election.
Penticton city by-election general voting day is today, June 19

737 voters on June 9 in comparison to 2018 general election, which had 1,001 on first day

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 Penticton-area men charged with Kamloops brothers’ double homicide

Brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May in Naramata

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

JAK's Liquor Store in Penticton will be donating 10 per cent of its sales on Saturday, June 19, to the Penticton Salvation Army Food Bank. (Photo from JAKS.com)
Stock up your liquor cabinet and support the Penticton food bank

Jak’s beer and wine store is donating a portion of sales to local food banks Saturday

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Rita Coolidge played the main stage at Vancouver Island Musicfest in 2017. (Black Press file photo)
This year’s Vancouver Island MusicFest to virtually showcase beauty of Comox Valley

Returning July 9 through 11 with more than 25 hours of music performances

British Columbia’s premier says he’s received a second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. (Twitter/John Horgan)
B.C. premier gets 2nd dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

John Horgan shared a photo of himself on social media Friday afternoon holding a completed vaccination card

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

Most Read