The looming closure of Crossroads Treatment Centre is not just a blow to Kelowna, but also to health-care services right across the Okanagan.
Without Crossroads' much-needed programs, the Central Okanagan will be left without an in-patient addiction centre or a detox facility.
Patients come to the facility from throughout the Okanagan and beyond, and the loss of its services will place yet another burden on hospital emergency wards, which are ill-equipped to deal with the counselling needs of addicts who have decided it is finally time to get sober.
One doctor called the looming crisis an "unmitigated disaster" waiting to happen.
Crossroads is winding up its operations in 90 days, leaving addicts few other places to turn to.
Without help, many will likely continue their destructive habits,
potentially ending up homeless,
requiring hospitalization or placing increased pressure on other social agencies.
When it's all added up, the cost to society and to taxpayers will in all likelihood exceed that of keeping Crossroads open.
While Interior Health was unable to increase its funding to meet Crossroads' needs, IH must consider allocating funds to replace this vital service, even if in some reduced capacity.
Leaving such a huge gap in addiction services in unacceptable.
IH, Crossroads and unionized health-care staff need to come up with some kind of continuation plan.
According to the the B.C. Medical Association, one in 10 people - about 400,000 in this province - have some kind of addiction.
Leaving them without help in the Okanagan is simply not an option.
- Managing Editor