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REPORTING · 21st November 2012
Walter McFarlane
Kitimat City Council saw a presentation from Kitimat Mental Health and Addiction Services on Monday, November 5th during their Regular Meeting of Council. Michael Melia, the Director of Northwest Health and Addiction Services introduced the presenters.

Famtima Reynolds, Kitimat Mental Health Team Leader gave Council an overview of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

“We provide service to individuals 19 years or older who are experiencing struggles due to a mental illness. We also provide service for individuals and families with addiction issues regardless of age,” said Reynolds.

The services include assessment, treatment, psychiatric consultation, rehabilitation and education. They provide several different therapies. Access is available through self-referral, through the medical facilities or through the family physician. She explained they also work and have partnerships with related services in the community.

They provide support and education to the Dunmore House in Kitimat. They also collaborate with the Food Share program. They are also working on a community garden and have received support from many of the different contractors.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff wanted to know what kind of changes they were seeing in the caseload. Reynolds replied they were seeing more cases as addiction issues were coming to the forefront. She expressed there were people moving into the community who have mental health issues.

The next speaker was David MacLennan, the Health Service Manager for Kitimat Mental Health and Addiction. He talked about the initiatives which they are working towards.

He told Council the first of which was a thirty day follow up. It follows patients who have been placed in care. Kitimat is exceeding their mandate. However, they want to reduce the amount of time for the follow up from 30 days to 5 because 30 days is a significant chunk of time.

The final speaker was Melia.

“In 2006, Northern Health did a range of community consultations around the North called, ‘Let’s Talk About Addiction.’ The loud message that came from every community was we need to visit closer to home, at that time primarily was a 28 day treatment program in Prince George,” said Melia.

People had to make their own way to Prince George. This led to a look at how services could be provided closer to home. The first step was to meet with the community stakeholders. Mayor and Council were invited to a meeting on November 13th along with other community groups who work with addictions and similar problems.

“The goal from that meeting will be to identify if there is an interest within Kitimat to have that program local. I suspect the answer will be a resounding yes. Following that, we will look to have a work design group, which is made of the people who will actually deliver the program in the community. A program advisory committee will be established to look at some of the political values and some of the areas that the program may face,” said Melia.

If everything goes according to plan, they hope to have a pilot program in place in January 2013 which will run for 12 weeks. He expressed the pilot program is easy to run and, I will identify if the program is viable or if they have the partners. Then look for sources of funding to keep the program sustainable.

Melia explained the addiction services are based around a harm reduction model to meet people where they are at. Most programs will require a 2 week dry period before they can get help. This program will allow people to start after one week.

“We find this program compliments existing programs in the community,” said Melia.

Recovery revolves around education, nutrition, peer support and employment. He explained employment comes around with the lifestyle changes.

Councillor Phil Germuth expressed there have been many cutbacks to healthcare recently and wanted to know if Addiction Services had experienced any. Reynolds told him they have not experienced the cutbacks. Although there are some vacancies, the staff adapts to the demands and challenges.
In Recovery
Comment by Getting better on 22nd November 2012
I was very glad to see the addiction services trying to set up an addiction services.with the amount of cocain and other heavy drugs in this town this service will be very much needed.I was normal guy and have a young daughter and a good job.I was sitting in one of the local bars with freinds when this guy comes up to the four of us and drops a small envolepe on the table and says enjoy if you like this you know we're you can get more.I was stunned and asked my buddy who that was?and he told me he was the biggest drug dealer in town.Being young and stupid we went to the washroom a snorted the coke it was the first time for me ,and I loved how it made me felt.later that night the drug dealer came to our table and bought us drinks and gave us more cocain ,this guy pulled out a wad of bills to pay for our drinks, he must of had $5000 .Ever since I did coke I fell in love with it .But then all the problems came along with taking coke,I was hooked it was like the drug dealer was in that bar and he was fishing and he set the hook and pulled me out of my normal life.I lost my girl freind and daughter ,I got so far into debt because I was blowing shifts at work and had know money to pay for the coke,racked up visa,MasterCard ,personal loan of credit,So I finally lost my job because and did not take the help I was overed because I was so screwed up and had not hit what was my bottom.So I lost my house and car and had to claim bankruptcy ,So here I was with nothing and I still needed coke .In order to pay for it I would steal from family and sell there stuff to pay for the coke.I was so sick and skinny and almost dead my sister had me committed to the hospital ,Were I started to turn my life over and went to a treatment centre.It has been three years since I came back from the treatment centre that saved my life.Iam finally able to have a relationship with my daughter,Girlfreind is in another realationship can't blame her .My family has been very supported after all I put them threw.But with three years gone buy I see the same drug dealer doing the same shit.I wounder how many other people lives he has screwed up.I hope your recovery program goes threw because this town will need it.It makes you wonder how these drug dealers can deal for so long without getting busted,maybe it is time for the police and city to sit down together a take a good look at what is happening in this town.
Very good idea
Comment by Concered and Frustraded on 21st November 2012
This is some thing Kitimat needs with all the heavy drugs flowing in this town.I could be wrong but does the Kitimat village have a operating treatment centre?Being in recovery myself for cocain it is a daily fight to stay away from the drug.The people of kitimat don't have any Idea how bad it is in this town ,I can't believe there hasn't been more busts with the big flows of drugs that I have been accustom to.when you see the big drug dealers getting .richer and richer by hiding there money and starting business.And it is so funny one of the wife's of these drug dealers drives around in a hummer with her kids , It's like she is rubbing it in the .police face by saying crime does pay.what kind of message is this to our youth that selling drugs is easy to get away with .It starts with the source ,and that is with the big drug dealers. If nothing is done you will see more crime because addictive drug user will not be able to hold on to there jobs and will do anything to get that money to take care of there addiction,so wake up kitimat put more pressure on the police to put pressure on these big drug dealers till it is out of hand.