Addiction recovery beds for women set to double from 6 to 12 on Vancouver Island

Addiction recovery beds for women set to double from 6 to 12 on Vancouver Island

Women on Vancouver Island as a whole have historically had extremely limited addiction recovery options available to them, according to advocates.

As overdose rates in women doubled in the last four years, there is a new focus on filling the gap.

“The number of women dying from fatal overdose has more than doubled since 2020. So making options available now are paramount,” said Nicole Mucci, a spokesperson with Union Gospel Mission.

In recent years, Mucci says women have been suffering silently.

“Oftentimes, one of the barriers for women when they want to seek recovery is what happens if I tell people that I’m struggling. Will my baby be taken away from me?” said Mucci.

“There really is a crisis,” agreed Dawn Nickel with She Recovers Foundation, a recovery-focused charity.

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New options are coming with the arrival of a major organization with deep ties to the lower mainland.

The Union Gospel Mission, based on Vancouver’s eastside, has been helping with recovery since the 1940s. This summer, it’s opening a live-in recovery centre with six beds in Victoria called Arrow Home for women and their babies.

The location is not being disclosed.

“So historically, for many years, there was actually only six beds lives in recovery spaces for women only on Vancouver Island,” said Nickel.

With support from the province, Our Place is also slated to open recovery beds specifically designed for women this summer and fall.

“It’s not enough, but this is a good start,” said Nickel. “We have very different experiences with addiction and mental health than men. We are twice as likely to be diagnosed with eating disorders, anxiety and depression.”

She Recovers Foundation offers online meetings twice a day. In Victoria, it hosts a sharing circle at the Umbrella Society once a month in a way to address women’s substance use that’s not through a traditional 12-step program.

“It isn’t for everybody. And women, in particular, have more trouble [with] the model than men. It’s difficult to get to the meeting if they don’t have child care,” said Nickel.

She Recovers Foundation and the new live-in recovery home Union Gospel Mission promise to meet women where they’re at, simultaneously providing connection as the women navigate getting sober and offering them alternative tools to relieve the hurt that lies underneath.

“You think addictions are the problem, they’re actually your solution and your coping mechanism,” added Nickel.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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