Private VS Government Drug Treatment in BC Canada

Drug addiction and alcoholism is a problem in British Columbia, Canada, just like it is a problem all over the world. If you are an addict, or you are a family member looking for help for an addict, then you are most likely researching drug treatment options for BC rehab centers.

If this is the case then one of the biggest choices you will need to make is between a private drug treatment center and a government drug treatment center.

Private vs Government Drug Treatment

What are the differences between private and government drug treatment?

Here are the biggest differences between private and government drug treatment that you will want to know about to make your decision.

1 Standardized Treatment

A private addiction treatment center is privately owned, while a government drug treatment center is funded in full or partly by the state.

Because government funded centers are owned and run by the state all the centers have a similar recovery theme and while there will be some differences between centers, the standard of treatment and the way that they go about treatment is similar. This means that you will get a similar standard of treatment no matter which government funded center you choose to use.

Privately owned drug treatment centers can differ vastly when it comes to the type of recovery treatment, the cost of treatment and the facilities available at the center. This means that compared to the mostly standardized treatment of government drug treatment centers there can be a massive difference between private drug treatment centers.

2 Cost of Treatment

Government drug treatment centers are funded fully or partly by the state. This means that the cost of treatment is lower than at a private drug treatment center, some government treatment centers are even free.

Privately owned drug treatment centers will cost more and depending on how luxury the treatment center is the price can be quite hefty.

One of the biggest deciders in choosing between a private and a government will be the cost involved. Most addicts will simply not have the luxury or being able to afford a private treatment so the choice is taken away.

3 Waiting List

Since government drug treatment centers cost much less there is often a very long waiting list to get in.

Private drug treatment centers might be a lot more expensive but there is often no waiting time to get in so you can often start your treatment immediately which is very appealing.

4 Personalized Treatment Program

A private drug treatment center will be able to offer a more tailor-made program for individual patients. A government treatment program will be focused on recovery for all individuals but most likely won’t be able to offer such personalized care as a private center will be able to.

5 Confidentiality and Security

All drug treatment centers will be concerned with your confidentiality and your security, however a private center will be much more likely to succeed at protecting your confidentiality and ensuring the security is tight.

What Else Is Important in Choosing A Drug Treatment Center?

1 How Is Treatment Approached?

Is the treatment center a 12 step program, SMART recovery or religion based? Do they have a medically supervised detox center? And do they offer dual-diagnosis treatment (which means treatment for other mental disorders that a patient may have as well as addiction)?

Do they offer treatment for drug/ alcohol addiction only or do they offer specialized treatment for sex addiction, gambling, eating disorders and other types of addiction too?

Do they offer a family program and a relapse prevention plan and support after you leave treatment?

These are all the types of questions you should be asking.

You need to research and find out what type of program the drug treatment center follows and decide if that is the right way for you.

2 Type Of Treatment

Will you be going into treatment as a resident or part of an outpatient program? Will you be booking into a primary care facility, a secondary (long care) facility or a sober living community?

3 Medical Insurance and Government Assistance

If you have medical assistance that will cover your drug treatment and does the government offer any assistance to you for treatment?

For example, in British Columbia, Canada:

Clients who are residents of alcohol and drug residential treatment facilities funded by the Ministry of Health (MoH) may be eligible for the standard user fee ($1,200 per month) and a comforts allowance ($95 per month).

To receive assistance while in an alcohol and drug residential treatment facility, clients must be eligible for income assistance or disability assistance.

In addition, clients in the alcohol or drug treatment centre may be eligible to receive actual shelter costs for the client’s usual place of residence up to the maximum shelter amount for the client’s family unit  ($375 per month).

These are really important things to consider when choosing a drug treatment center for yourself or for your loved one. There is no right or wrong answer here, but rather a case of what type of treatment will best suit you under your personal circumstances.

Take your time to make your decision and research all options available to you.

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The Importance of Medically Supervised Addiction Treatment for Young Adults

The teenage years are really tough enough as it is with raging hormones, so when you add in a substance abuse problem it can become a complicated problem.

Many teens experiment with drugs or alcohol with little or no consequences at all, however there are a lot of teenagers that very quickly get stuck in the cycle of addiction. If you find out your teenager has been using drugs or alcohol you must take steps to find out the depth of the problem.

Because teenagers are not yet fully developed their views can be very limited. Very often teenagers simply cannot fully comprehend the severity of the consequences of their using and of their own behavior due to using.




For this reason if your teenager has a substance abuse problem it really is best to ensure you find an addiction treatment center that offers specialized addiction treatment for young adults.

When choosing a rehab for your teenager it is also important to choose a medically supervised addiction treatment program that will help to ensure the best possible outcome for your child.

Medically Supervised Addiction Treatment for Young Adults

Here are the reasons why a medically supervised addiction treatment program is so important for young adults:

A Medically Supervised Detox

Just to put it simply, withdrawal from certain drugs can be dangerous, even deadly which means a medical detox can mean the difference between life and death for your teenager.

There are many drugs that require detoxification, including alcohol, heroin and opiate related drugs, and certain prescription drugs such as Xanas, Oxycontin, Vicodin, and Hydrocodone. Withdrawal symptoms can have severe side effects which can be fatal if not properly treated.

Detoxing from these drugs may cause vomiting, trembling, nausea, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, seizures, and comas.




Trained medical professionals can help to manage these life threatening symptoms by administering medication to wean the addict off of the drug, decrease physical withdrawal symptoms and prevent seizures.

Medical staff are on hand to check vital signs, evaluate mental and physical progress and provide support to the patient throughout the withdrawal process.

There are also other drugs that do not usually require a medical detox, these include marijuana, cocaine, and crystal methamphetamine. Withdrawal symptoms are not so severe ranging from a feeling of tiredness to extreme irritability and agitation.

Very often medical detox is given for these drugs for other reasons such as the patient feels they cannot stop without medical intervention, they have become psychotic from drug use and need a medical intervention, they feel they are a danger to themselves (suicidal) or perhaps they just don’t have anywhere else to go.

It is much safer for an addict to go through a medical detox than to try and attempt it from home, not just from the viewpoint of the physical and mental dangers associated with detox, but also because relapse is a lot more likely when attempting to detox without medical help.

When a drug addict goes back to using drugs during or just after withdrawal their tolerance is usually much lower making an overdose more likely.

Addiction and Dual Diagnosis

When a patient is diagnosed with a substance abuse problem and a mental health issue it is referred to as a dual diagnosis.

Common mental health disorders that occur in conjunction with addiction and substance abuse problems are:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Personality Disorders
  • Mood Disorders (such as Bipolar Disorder)

It may be that a drug addict starts to develop mental health issues when, after chronic drug use, the brain function alters.

Alternatively someone with mental health issues may attempt to treat the symptoms of their mental disorder by taking drugs. For example someone suffering from anxiety may smoke marijuana in an attempt to calm themselves and through prolonged use becomes addicted.




Regardless of which disorder occurs first it is essential that the addiction and the mental health disorder be treated at the same time. The symptoms and effects of the mental disorder can trigger and drive the addiction and vice versa.

At least 30% of people that are suffering with a substance abuse problem have mental health issues.

For these reasons it really is important for teenagers (and any other addict) to be treated at a medically supervised, dual diagnosis addiction center.

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Addiction Treatment for Recovery: The Start of my Journey

The start of my addiction treatment for recovery was a 3 week stay in a psychiatric ward.

I was still in denial and didn’t have a clue how much trouble I was in. I had blue eyes and a broken nose when I arrived there, compliments of an abusive relationship. I was covered in bruises. I believed I was a victim and had done nothing to deserve where I was in life.

Every addict will lay the blame an anything and everything but herself or himself. If we are in denial we can continue using. We can also blot out everything shameful we have done or been through by using more. And so the cycle continues…

Addiction Treatment for Recovery

Denial

During my stay there I was allowed out for a walk, giving me the perfect opportunity to find my dealer and acquire 2 grams of cocaine. On my return the staff saw immediately something was not right and tested me immediately. They considered kicking me out, but for some reason let me stay. They did make me go to my first 12 Step meeting the following day at the adjoining Addiction Clinc.

I went to the meeting and announced that I was in fact not an addict but the staff at the psychiatric ward thought I might be so I had to come join in. Sound crazy enough to you? Of course it is, I was completely delusional. What sane person leaves a psychiatric ward, takes drugs and comes back an hour later thinking this is normal?

Manipulation

On leaving the clinic I was advised by my psychiatrist to not have any mood or mind altering substances for the next 3 months. Looking back it is clear they were aware I had a serious problem. I considered this advice, to take or not to take as it pleases me. I didn’t use anything for a few days, which to me was hard core proof I didn’t have a problem. A few weeks later I managed to embarrass myself in public by getting so drunk I vomited and then fell out of a truck into my own vomit. I won’t go into too much detail on how that happened, you can use your imagination or you can read about that story and a good few more in my ebook.

Now having blue eyes and a broken nose once again did not sit well with my family that were concerned about me. They wanted me to go for addiction treatment. Once again I couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was about. I managed to convince them that I could get by with an outpatient program instead of being booked in anywhere.

This didn’t work very well for me. I continued to use and I failed every drug test. By the 3rd drug test I came to realise that I was on the verge of being kicked off the program and my family would not be pleased. Instead of telling my family I had been using I told them I was “struggling” and wanted to move out of my parents home into tertiary care, which is a home of safety. Then I told the clinic where I was doing the outpatient program that I was moving to a house of safety and could they please let me continue the program.

They allowed this and I am not sure how I managed to complete this program. I think a miscommunication between the 2 facilities must have occurred because I continued to use and neither facility tested me again.

Now I found myself living in a house of safety and trying to hide my using, not an easy task! One night I overdid, as of course I would. It was 20 minutes before our curfew when I had to be home. I was so drunk I could barely walk and high on cocaine. There was just no way I would be able to pull that off. Instead I texted the manager and told him I had “relapsed” and would contact them in the morning.

At this time I still had no concern about getting clean, it was all about manipulating everyone to leave me alone so I could continue using. I wasn’t an addict! I was just going through a wild phase right? You know, like every normal person does at some stage. The fact that this “wild phase” was going on for about 15 years didn’t really occur to me.

I had to try and get myself out of this mess without my family writing me off. I called my parents and the owner of the house of safety and said I was “ready to get clean, what must I do?”. I thought perhaps acting like I would do whatever needed to be done and following their instructions (for a little while at least) would get me some breathing space while I figured out what to do.

I was told to go into Secondary Care treatment. I happily collected my bags and off I went. Only upon signing the contract upon arrival did I get the shock of my life realizing it was a minimum 3 month stay. What happened to the 28 days thing I had heard about? Oh well, I had to do it because I didn’t really have much choice did I?

Walking the Walk & Talking the Talk

My plan at this stage was to do the recovery act for the 3 months, make it out the other side and then carry on with my life as I felt fit. For about a month I did just this. I shared in groups, I went to AA meetings and I did everything asked of me. I said what I thought they wanted to hear and I followed every suggestion. Not because I wanted to get clean, but because I honestly believed there truly was some big mistake. This wasn’t the place for me, I was misunderstood.

Slowly things must have started to sink in. All that therapy, all those groups and meetings…

Breaking through the Denial

About 6 weeks into treatment I was sitting writing an assignment and I realized a few things:

  • I am an addict!
  • I want to be clean
  • I have a Higher Power and it is working in my life
  • I have been working this program (for a little while at least, certainly not from the start)
  • I feel good, not great but good

What confused me is that I can’t pinpoint the moment something in me had changed. I realised at that moment that I knew I was an addict, but it is not a realization I had that second. I had known it for a while. When did it change?

Where did this Higher Power come from, what is it and how can I believe in God when I am not religious?

What on earth happened?

I have been clean since 02 August 2008 when I arrived at the Secondary Care rehab. I have never touched another mood or mind altering substance and that is a miracle.

I really believe that being in treatment for those 6 weeks, having recovery shoved down my throat made the change happen in me. Without that I doubt anything could have saved me. It might sound crazy but I actually enjoyed rehab, it was the first time in many years I did something for myself, something I could be proud of.

If you are an addict or alcoholic in active addiction, please do yourself a favour and book yourself in for treatment. It can be the life-changing event you need to save your life.

I am sure every addict is scared of treatment but it can be a wonderful experience. I will share more in-depth at some stage about my experiences in treatment.

I hope you enjoyed reading this and got something of value from it, please leave a comment below!

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