Addiction Treatment Centres in Vancouver: Are They Prepared To Handle The COVID-19 Outbreak

The essential nature of the services provided by addiction treatment centres means that they have to stay open despite the coronavirus. It is no longer new that COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on public health all across the globe. To date, there have been over a million confirmed cases of the virus. With testing measures becoming more widespread, those numbers are expected to go up over the next few weeks – barring a small miracle.

Due to the coronavirus, all institutions that provide services that are not deemed essential have been closed. In Canada, social distancing measures have been put in place to help prevent the spread of the virus. However, addiction treatment centres in Vancouver remain open. But the question remains, are they prepared to handle the realities of the COVID-19 outbreak?

Today, millions of Canadians across the country suffer from some form of substance use disorder. Depending on how serious the substance abuse problem is, people with addiction face an endless cycle of visits to emergency rooms, addiction treatment centres and even correctional facilities like jails. As a result, it is very important that addiction services in Vancouver remain available and effective during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Are you wondering if it is safe to visit an addiction treatment centre near you? Perhaps, you are wondering if addiction services are equipped to protect you from contracting the coronavirus. In this article, we will explain how COVID-19 is affecting addiction services in Vancouver. More importantly, we will explore whether treatment centres are equipped to deal with the virus and the measures that need to be taken to prevent the spread.

Related article: Things to Avoid During Addiction Recovery

How COVID-19 Is Affecting Addiction Services in Vancouver

Addiction services in Vancouver are run by people like yourself. For starters, addiction treatment can not be dispensed automatically or with the use of delivery services. Effective treatment requires experts to get up close and personal with their patients, discussions and regular therapy sessions. With the social distancing measures that have been put in place in Vancouver, this has become doubly harder.

Addiction Services in Vancouver

Firstly, it is proving difficult for addiction treatment experts to move around within the city of Vancouver. With the quarantine and curfew measures in place, it has become harder to get from work to home and back again. This is one of the major ways through which COVID-19 has affected addiction service in Vancouver. 

Another way through which the pandemic is affecting addiction services is in the dispensation of drugs necessary for treatment. As much as counselling, motivation, group support and accountability are a part of addiction treatment, so is medication. As part of addiction treatment, some people have to take certain drugs and medication to control the urge to use different substances.

Unfortunately, the pandemic is affecting the distribution of these important drugs. This is due to the restriction in movement and the reduction in the workforce available for proper distribution. As a result, addiction services in Vancouver are having to find alternate means of getting medication and treatment across their patients.

Why Addiction Treatment Centres Have To Stay Open

Addiction treatment centres have to stay open because addiction can’t be paused. Right now, as a result of COVID-19, the movies are closed. The malls are also closed. Music festivals and sporting events have also been cancelled. However, addiction can’t be stopped, just like that. For people that require addiction treatment in Vancouver, COVID-19 is one more thing to worry about. And even that is not as important as getting effective treatment.

To put this in perspective, we will use opioid withdrawal as a case study. Opioid withdrawal is a painful part of addiction treatment. More importantly, it can’t be avoided. However, with the right medication, painful withdrawals can be prevented. Methadone and buprenorphine are two drugs that can be used to prevent painful opioid withdrawals. However, the issue is that these drugs can only be dispensed daily. Due to a history of drug abuse, they can’t be provided to the people that need them in bulk. This is why addiction services in Vancouver need to stay open — to be able to provide treatment to those that need it.

Are Addiction Treatment Centres in Vancouver Prepared to Handle the Virus?

If you are wondering whether you risk contracting COVID-19 by visiting an accredited addiction treatment centre, the answer is no. However, the keyword is “accredited”. Over the past few weeks, reputable, accredited treatment centres have adjusted their services to combat the spread of the virus. In this section, we will show you the measures that addiction centres in Vancouver are taking to handle the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Addiction Treatment

Screening Before Arrival

A screening step has become an important part of the services provided by different addiction treatment centres in Vancouver. This step is also vital to prevent healthy people from coming in contact with those that may have been exposed to the virus.

Here at Addiction Healing Centre, we are going the extra mile by taking the time to ask both new and old patients a few questions before admittance. These questions revolve around recent travel history, possible symptoms and pre-existing issues. With these screening measures, it is possible to ensure that those who may have been exposed to coronavirus are transferred to government-controlled isolation and treatment centres. 

Waiting Room Precautions 

To prevent the spread of coronavirus, addiction services in Vancouver are changing their waiting room procedures. Visitors are encouraged to sit at least 6 feet apart from one another. Additionally, hand washing and cough etiquette are now being practiced in waiting rooms across the city to prevent the spread of the virus.

Expanding Access to Medications

Earlier in this article, we mentioned that there are different medications that have to be received daily to help cope with the realities of addiction treatment. In Vancouver, measures are being put in place to make sure that patients have access to more of these medications at once. 

Depending on patient history and the severity of the addiction, addiction services are now dispensing up to two weeks worth of these medications at once. This step is necessary to reduce the rate at which people have to move around in search of essential addiction medication.

Change in Group Therapy Procedures

A good number of addiction treatment centres in Vancouver use behavioural therapy to boost long-term recovery from addiction. However, these therapy sessions usually take place in groups and small spaces to foster a feeling of togetherness, support and “safe space”.

However, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, addiction services are changing their procedure with regards to group therapy. Individual therapy sessions are now being encouraged with social distancing being practised between the therapist and patient.

Implementation of Telehealth Treatment

Now more than ever, addiction services in Vancouver are implementing technology in the disbursement of their services. This means that check-in sessions, therapy sessions and more are now being conducted via video calls. This measure is especially important for people who are currently self-isolating or under self-quarantine yet need addiction treatment. 

Regular Disinfection of Treatment Facilities

Finally, to better cope with the COVID-19 outbreak, addiction treatment centres have incorporated disinfection into their daily routines. Surfaces such as tables, stairwell handles, elevator buttons, door handles, chairs and more are cleaned daily using disinfectants. Additionally, both medical and non-medical staff are being enjoined to wash their hands regularly. Hand sanitizers are also being made available at addiction treatment centres in Vancouver.

Treatment Facilities


No institution was fully prepared for the outbreak of COVID-19. However, addiction treatment centres in Vancouver are modifying their services drastically to stop the spread while still providing effective treatment to those that need it.

Here at Inspire Change Drug Rehab in Vancouver , we are following all of the measures that were discussed in the previous section. This means that we can provide addiction treatment while preventing the spread of the disease at the same time. 

Do you need help dealing with substance abuse? Perhaps you need to talk to addiction treatment experts. Please contact us immediately! We are open.

Related article: Choosing an Addiction Treatment Centre

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