Hello my Friends – I wouldn’t normally send a second message off to you in the same week but yesterday one of our Addiction: A Mother’s Story Moms, Penny Douglass from Kamloops, British Columbia Canada kindly shared a letter with me that she sent to our Provincial Minister of Health Terry Lake.
Penny’s letter voices the very concerns everyone of us have. Society is very slowly beginning to realize what we parents have known for a very long time. Addiction is a disease. A disease that alters the brain of our addicted loved ones. We have watched it unfold for years begging for help. Tragically it has taken the incredible number of overdose deaths this past year due to fentnyl and carfentnyl into the mix, to shake up the stigma surrounding addiction.
The momentum of awareness and what is needed must continue. We are just at the starting line. Our addicted loved ones deserve every bit of care, compassion and help from highly qualified professions. There is not a “one size fits all” solution. Like any other health crisis, those suffering with the disease of addiction need us to pull out all the stops. They need intense help to overcome their addiction but they also need just as much help to deal with the trauma that addiction has brought into their lives, trauma perhaps carried from childhood. PTSD that results in high levels of anxiety, panic attacks, sleeplessness, night terrors, the list goes on and on.
As Penny indicates in her letter, our addicted loved ones desperately need and deserve to be treated with the same level of professionalism and expertise as anyone struggling with any other deadly disease.
Please find Penny’s letter below – she is generously allowing me to share it with all of you. Both Penny and I encourage you to write your government health officials, government leaders, representatives wherever you live – it will take us Mothers, we as family members to keep the pressure on. STAND UP – SPEAK OUT – TOGETHER WE CAN. Our addicted loved ones are not able to advocate for themselves while deep in their addiction so we must. Let your voices be heard.
Be kind to yourselves – take care and please keep in touch. I truly care.
Again, thank you Penny for allowing your words, wisdom, and your experience to be shared.
*** LETTER FROM MOTHER PENNY DOUGLASS SENT TO BRITISH COLUMBIA’S HEALTH MINISTER TERRY LAKE ***
On Feb 1, 2017, at 9:17 PM, PENNY DOUGLASS wrote:
I would like to make some comments on the Coroners recommendations following the inquest, into a clients death, in an addiction treatment centre in BC. I would strongly urge our Ministry of Health to implement standardized regulations for the operation of Addiction and Substance Abuse treatment centers in our province. This needs to include a requirement for professionally trained staff to be actively involved in patient treatment. Folks with ‘lived experience’ have valuable knowledge & skills but this needs to be partnered with education and recovery longevity. It is my belief and the belief of other parents that a licensing system needs to be in place.
The regulation of these centers needs to include a standardized measurement of outcomes. I find it very difficult to find out what these centers base their success percentages on. What is a success-someone who completes treatment but may return to using 3 days after they have ‘graduated’? What is counted as a failure? Is a death in treatment a failure? Or did they just not complete treatment? Remember these centers are businesses. Success numbers draw clients.
The opioid crisis has highlighted the increasing need for easily accessible Detox and treatment centers. Most,treatment centers’ recovery philosophy is narrow in focus and they demand total abstinence; therefore, designing recovery plans which exclude clients who require medicinal therapies for their individual recovery. This means many treatment facilities do not admit clients on Suboxone or Methadone ( both recognized therapies in opioid addiction treatment) as this requires more staff, work and expense.
When families and/or addicts are choosing a treatment centre they need to do their homework. Ask questions, look at staff qualifications, look at policies on replacement drugs, read rules and regulations. If you identify red flags, deal with them prior to paying or having your addicted love one enter the facility. Most addicts enter a facility at a critical point in their disease and their admission is totally voluntary and they are free to leave at anytime. In theory they are choosing to be there-unlike jail. By the very nature of addiction these are folks who have spent much of their time substance/drug seeking. It is their desire to stop, partnered with the skilled help of treatment professionals. At this critical crossroads, the addicted persons need speedy and efficient access to regulated, standardized treatment in facilities that are inspected, licensed and monitored.
I have had experience with some very good, professional treatment centers and some that are substandard. We have a standard for patient care in other areas of health care system and our family members and others suffering from addictions and substance abuse deserve the same standardized quality of care.
In concern, Penny Douglass