Island Health adds vital substance use treatment beds for youth in Campbell River and Comox

Young people in Island Health will have more access to substance use supports with the opening of new youth treatment beds, including the first site with multi-bed capacity in the Comox Valley. 

“It is vital that when young people and their families are facing mental health and substance use challenges the supports are there when and where they need them,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “I’m grateful for all the hard work and cooperation from all partners to provide these services and help build a system of care that works for everyone.” 

The six new beds in Island Health are part of the Province’s commitment announced on August 13, 2020 to double the number of youth substance use beds in B.C. Five supportive recovery treatment and withdrawal management beds will open this June in the Comox Valley. In Campbell River, one new supportive recovery treatment bed opened this spring increasing the total number of beds in the community to five. All the new beds will be accessible to youth living in the Island Health Region.

“With these new supports, youth facing challenging substance use issues will be able to access the higher level of support they need closer to home,” said Island Health Board Chair, Leah Hollins 

The John Howard Society of North Island will operate the new beds in both the Comox Valley and Campbell River. Youth substance use treatment beds are supported by additional programs throughout the day, evening and weekends that includes recreation and community access, group sessions, life skills, counselling, and harm reduction, as well as access to cultural activities and supports. Youth are also linked to Island Health funded-substance use counselling in both communities.   

“These supports are so important for the youth and families in our communities that are being hit hard by the overdose crisis,” said Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox. “Thank you to everyone who pulled together to establish enhanced youth treatment beds ever in the Comox Valley.” 

Access to these beds is based on referral from primary care providers and other health and social service professionals. Referral considers each youth’s needs and the appropriate treatment options available. Annual operating costs for these beds are $895,000 funded by the Province and Island Health.

This investment is part of the BC government’s strategy to improve mental health and addiction care, A Pathway to Hope. It reflects the continued commitment to work across government and with Indigenous partners on real, lasting solutions, and on upstream investments that will make a difference in the lives of many British Columbians, including children, youth, and families, for years to come. 

Quick facts: 

  • Inpatient treatment beds are one piece of a continuum of care for substance use challenges. Others include outpatient-based treatment and withdrawal management. It is important to have a range of services available as each person’s experience with substance use is unique, as is their experience of recovery.
  • The new beds will be available for youth living in Island Health who have significant and complex substance use challenges, who have not been successfully supported through less-intensive treatment.

To read A Pathway to Hope, visit: