Pubdate: Thu, 09 Mar 2000
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: The Vancouver Sun 2000
Contact:  200 Granville Street, Ste.#1, Vancouver BC V6C 3N3
Fax: (604) 605-2323
Author: Stanley deVlaming


To the editor:

When it comes to treating severe addicts, the middle road is not
funded in this province (Drug study would prescribe heroin, March 4).
On the one hand, we have total abstinence, and, on the other, total
licence (harm reduction run wild). But the middle road, the one that
combines the strengths of both regimes, is not funded.

For example, Unity Recovery House is one of only three methadone
recovery houses in B.C. capable of treating severe addicts. None
receives government funding. All three have been operating on less
than a shoestring budget from the welfare cheques their clients must
give up (leaving no money for cigarettes or shampoo). There are no
provincial standards or any supervision.

Unity Recovery House will be closing its doors at the end of this
month because it can't afford to hire staff for evening supervision.
For months, patients have been reduced to food banks. Counselling has
been non-existent.

In spite of all the obstacles to this middle road, we have continually
been witnessing remarkable results, as the recent film, Through A Blue
Lens, has documented.

Head, Division of Addiction Medicine
St. Paul's Hospital 
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