We live in a great country! Not only do we have amazing wilderness, but we also have world renown talent like Drake, The Barenaked Ladies, Brian Gosling. There is The Who, William Shatner, Leonard Cohen, and much more if you are middle-aged. We have a great many things available to us through government-subsidized services. One of which is a universal health care system. In 1984, the government established the Canada Health Act prohibited extra-billing and user fees for insured services. Making our country’s health care available based on need rather than the ability to pay.
In 2003, there was an agreement to Accord on Health Care Renewal. It provided a structural change to the health care system to support access, quality and long-term sustainability. The Accord was aimed in areas such as accelerated primary health care renewal and information technology (e.g., electronic health records, telehealth)
According to the World Health Organisation, “primary health care (PHC) addresses the majority of a person’s health needs throughout their lifetime. This includes physical, mental and social well-being.
A primary health care approach includes three components:
Unfortunately, one of the things you encounter when you contact a local community treatment facility is a waitlist. This is more so in big cities offering services to vast surrounding areas. A waitlist screens out those who are not determined to quit and favours those who can wait. This condition is non-viable for many cases.
Apart from the fact that funded programs are paid for by the community through taxes, it may appear without further research that they are free. Many centres will ask the person to either apply for welfare, disability or some other government allocation. Additionally, there is a signup fee and monthly cost taken from the person’s revenue.
Most government centres have a 28-day program, some offer longer programs up to a year or two. Whether in private or funded facilities, addiction counsellors care for people and want them to be drug-free and function in society. Each has well-trained individuals, although some may be overworked for lack of funding and personnel.
A person needs to be determined to quit drug or alcohol abuse before entering a government program. Here is why. It starts with a counsellor assessing the degree of addiction and the “seriousness” of being drug-free.
Community services have stipulations such as first undergoing a detox, which lasts from 3 to 10 days. Once done, the addict must be the one who calls the facility every day to see if a bed is available. Meanwhile, the person must remain drug-free as facilities require a person to be sober for several days before admission. A medical health practitioner’s referral note may speed up admission in some places.
In most provinces, the waiting list can be anywhere between 3 to 12 weeks even months. A person needs great determination to see this all through to sobriety.
When choosing your government addiction program, it’s important to visit the facility before admission. You should be comfortable in the environment. Ask what the program’s curriculum is; you want to do a program suited to your beliefs and needs.
If the situation is such that you need an alternative to the public access system, contact our referral counsellor. We are there to help you find affordable options. There are many accessible and affordable private treatment programs. Some are partly subsidized and, therefore, even less expensive.
Written by Susan Chubbs,
Drug & Alcohol Treatment Specialist