Chilliwack-Hope Liberal candidate Laurie Throness toured the Thunderbird Motel Project in Hope on Tuesday to highlight the importance of addictions treatment.
If elected, Throness vows to be a strong advocate for the issue and urge the provincial government to increase overall funding for long-term treatment facilities. He said more needs to be done to reduce demand for drugs by providing alternative care as police crack down on supply.
“There’s an opportunity to provide more of an emphasis on long-term treatment and this is the kind of a project that illustrates the benefits of long-term, stable treatment for people,” said Throness. “Long-term treatment to help people break free would reduce property crime, criminal networks, violence, family disruption, and general human misery, not to mention societal costs.”
The Thunderbird Motel Project is operated by the Hope and Area Transition Society and consists of 25 fully furnished, semi-independent units. It was developed as a low-barrier housing initiative to support individuals experiencing chronic homelessness. Many of the residents often suffer from multiple barriers, including addiction, mental illness, and limited social and life skills.
The province supports over 2,000 long-term treatment beds for individuals addicted to drugs, but Throness said it doesn’t meet the demand on the street. He suggested B.C. follow the substance abuse policy modelled in Sweden, a country that has one of the world’s lowest drug use rates.
“Anyone who wants long-term treatment should have access to it,” he added.