There are a few things you should know before you enter a government addiction treatment program. Understaffing and insufficient funding are prevalent in the Canadian Healthcare system, so it is in substance abuse treatments. Also, most government centers will have a 12-step program and put patients on life-time medication.
One of the things you encounter when you contact a local government treatment facility is a waitlist. This is true, mainly when cities also offer services to a vast surrounding area. A waiting list weeds out those who are not very determined to quit and favors those who can wait. For someone with a severe drug issue, this condition is non-viable.
It may appear without further research that government programs are free. But all government-funded programs are paid for by the community through our taxes. Personal items like shampoo and soap are at the person’s expense. Many centers will ask the person to either apply for welfare or some other government allocation. Additionally, there is a signup fee and monthly cost taken from the person’s said revenue.
Most government centers have a 28-day program. Some offer longer program time, but they are few and far apart. Whether in private or funded-centers, addiction counselors care for people and want them to be drug-free and function in society. Each has well-trained individuals, although some may be overworked.
A person needs to be determined to quit drug or alcohol abuse before entering a government program. Here is why. It starts with a counselor assessing the degree of addiction and the “seriousness” of being drug-free. These days, with the Covid pandemic, the interview is over the phone.
Government centers 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 stay clean as facilities require a person to be drug-free several days before admission.
In most provinces, the waiting list can be anywhere between 3 to 12 weeks and, in some cases, much longer. 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 you are in for the duration. Ask what the program 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 counselor. We are there to help you find affordable options. There are many accessible private treatment programs, some less than a sub-compact car. Some are partly subsidized and, therefore, even less expensive.
Written by Susan Chubbs,
Drug & Alcohol Treatment Specialist