BCHA Reiterates Call To BC Government To Regulate Addiction Recovery

Trigger warning: Sexual assault

This month, shocking news about alleged sexual assault and cover-ups once again drew attention to inequalities and lack of accountability associated with addiction recovery programs in BC.

Given this unfortunate string of events, we are renewing our 2018 call to the Government of BC to ensure every patient seeking treatment for a substance use issue has access to secular, evidence-based treatment options, by:

  1. Expanding support for secular, evidence-based addictions treatment programs and ensure no public support is given to faith-based programs
  2. Regulating and inspecting addictions treatment facilities to protect patients'  freedom of and freedom from religion, and
  3. Informing physicians, mental health professionals, social workers, employers, unions and judges of secular, evidence-based addictions treatment programs and their duty to protect a person with an addiction from religious coercion.

In addition to our 2018 points of action, we are expanding our asks to reflect new information that has come to light regarding the misconduct of two BC addiction facilities. Eleven women from Westminster House and Last Door Recovery Centre have spoken out recently about the alleged sexual assault and silencing of their claims they experienced in these centres.

We want to highlight again the importance of proper regulation and inspection of treatment centres, as those seeking support during vulnerable points deserve environments that are first and foremost, safe. Secondly, they deserve to have these environments be inclusive to all walks of life and belief systems. Proper regulation and inspection would address not one but both of these issues and hopefully prevent situations such as these from happening in the future.

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