Youth addiction centre near Keremeos celebrates one year

Ashnola at the Crossing has been open just over a year

Since March 2017 more than 80 youth and young adults with substance use and mental health challenges have received treatment at Ashnola at The Crossing outside Keremeos.

A one-year anniversary to celebrate the re-opening of the facility under new operators occurred Friday.

The 22-bed facility provides care in a therapeutic environment for 17 – 24 year olds with substance use challenges that require specialized treatment and supports.

The facility was previously operated by Quebec-based Portage but closed abruptly in March 2015. At the time lack of qualified staff and budgetary concerns were cited as reasons.

The treatment centre was closed for about two years as a new operator was chosen and new treatment parameters developed.

Related: Province cancels lease for addiction facility

“The overdose crisis has made it clear that we need to provide a full spectrum of connected treatment and recovery options for people with substance use challenges,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Ashnola at The Crossing has brought together local First Nations, Indigenous organizations and many other local organizations as partners to create a safe space for youth to focus on a pathway to hope and recovery.”

BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services, part of the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), oversees the new program in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. The program is operated by Pacific Community Resources Society and began accepting the first clients on May 22, 2017. Central City Foundation, which built and owns the facility, provides The Crossing buildings and rural site to PHSA rent-free.

“Ashnola at The Crossing provides highly-specialized, evidence-based treatment, education and support for youth who are at a critical stage in their life path,” said Lynn Pelletier, vice-president, BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services. “It’s a unique setting with strong connections to the region and the local community where young people can get the support they need.”

Related: Housing crunch impacts staffing levels at provincial addiction centre near Keremeos

To access the program, youth and young adults need to be referred through their regional health authority. Priority access is given to Indigenous youth and youth from rural and remote communities. The program works with youth and their families to develop individualized treatment plans.

“Central City Foundation built The Crossing to be a residential treatment program to help youth with addictions,” said Jennifer Johnstone, president and CEO, Central City Foundation. “The Foundation and its donors and partners are thrilled to celebrate the successful first year of the new program.”

Programming includes group, individual and family therapy, therapeutic recreational activities, life-skills training, high school completion, psycho-social education and planning and support for clients to return to the community. Staff and clinicians provide support that is sensitive to the impacts of past trauma and encourage participants to recognize their strengths and build resilience.

“We are delighted to celebrate this milestone with our valued partners,” said Ingrid Kastens, chief executive officer, PCRS. “We are deeply aware that young people and their families trust us to deliver meaningful, high-quality services as our participants courageously take their next steps with us. We take this responsibility very seriously, and will do all we can to support young people on their healing journeys.”

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