Dr. Mel Vincent is director of psychiatry for the Edgewood Health Network in Nanaimo.

Seeking help for opioid addiction: reaching out in Nanaimo

Edgewood Health Network part of a multi-faceted approach to treatment and recovery

The opioid crisis in B.C., including in hard-hit communities on Vancouver Island, has made headlines across the country.

Here in Nanaimo, dedicated individuals, groups and treatment centres such as the Edgewood Health Network are working to help those suffering from drug addiction and help families avoid the grief that comes with the death of a loved one to substance abuse.

Many people battling addiction to opiates – they can include friends, family, co-workers – have yet to reach out for help, says Dr. Mel Vincent, director of psychiatry at Edgewood. Opioid addiction can be a trap, he adds: a person’s life may be falling apart, the risk of accidental overdose is very real and they fear the withdrawal that comes with quitting drug use.

A 2018 B.C. Centre on Substance Use study found the top reasons given for starting recovery were to improve one’s quality of life, and improve their mental/emotional health. As such, there’s no reason to wait until someone “hits bottom” before entering treatment and recovery, Dr. Vincent says. “We need to raise the bottom rather than waiting for them to get into some desperate state.”

Care option package is broadening

The presence of deadly fentanyl has been a game-changer that required a change of strategy for Edgewood and others in the recovery field, Dr. Vincent says. The Network has worked hard to reach out to other groups and health-care professionals to create a broad, multi-disciplinary care package that incorporates best practices.

Edgewood’s approaches include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Therapy (DBT) and medication-assisted therapies such as naltrexone, Suboxone and methadone maintenance, in combination with the more traditional approaches such as the 12-step programs offered by Narcotics Anonymous and AA.

Whether you or your loved ones’ addiction to opioids involves heroin/fentanyl, or prescription painkillers such as OxyContin, Vicodin or morphine – or developed through using street drugs or medications to numb chronic physical pain – Edgewood and its partners are addressing the causes and effects of each.

Many people taking action to get healthy

There are various opportunities and ways for you to ask for help. Many people in Nanaimo have joined community groups such as NA and AA, begun medication-assisted programs with methadone or Suboxone, frequented safe using sites and/or enrolled in treatment at Edgewood. The Network provides a range of options, from assessment and intensive programs for outpatients, to full inpatient residential treatment and aftercare programs.

“There is hope, despite the alarming number of deaths, but we have to work in a collaborative, co-operative way,” Dr. Vincent says. “There are very dedicated people in Nanaimo working with those in addiction. And many people are doing well in recovery, but we need the people who are still using to seek the help they need. There needs to be that availability of resources for them.”


For more information on Edgewood and its programs, including bursary options, click on this link, call 250-751-0111 or email info@edgewood.ca. You can also follow them on Facebook.

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Humboldt memorial hockey tournament will make its return in Nanaimo

Fundraising tournament set for Nanaimo North Town Centre parking lot on May 5

Anti-immigration party is on the ballot in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

Opposing candidate says National Citizens Alliance’s participation ‘highly problematic’

VIDEO: Next up on World of Dance: Vancouver Island’s Funkanometry faces ‘the cut’

Duncan’s Carlow Rush and Nanaimo’s Jacksun Fryer have passed the qualifying stage chasing $1 million

Clippers optimistic as they put finishing touches on cup-hosting bid

Nanaimo’s junior A hockey club hopes to host RBC Cup nationals in 2020-21

VIU visual art show spans a Spectrum of art forms

Spectrum: Visual Art Major Grad Show continues until May 9 at the View Gallery

‘No answers:’ Canadians react to Sri Lanka bombings that killed hundreds

The co-ordinated bomb attacks killed at least 207 people and injured 450 more on Easter Sunday

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Nanaimo says ‘hats off’ to community’s countless volunteers

Volunteer Nanaimo offered thanks during National Volunteer Week

Most Read