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North Vancouver recovery centre needs to be better understood: health officer

03/04/2015 06:41 EST | Updated 05/04/2015 05:59 EDT
A medical health officer for the North Shore is encouraging opponents of a proposed drug and alcohol recovery centre to better understand what happens at such a facility.

The proposal for the facility, which would be operated by Turning Point Recovery Society on Windridge Drive near Mount Seymour Parkway, is going before a community information meeting on Wednesday night. The facility would provide nine beds for men with addiction issues.

There has been considerable push back against the centre, with so many people turning up at a recent public meeting that it had to be rescheduled.

Vancouver Coastal Health medical health officer Dr. Mark Lysyshyn says it's important for people who have safety concerns to recognize that those who stay at licenced recovery houses are people who want help and who must be clean and sober in order to receive the support.

"While they're there, they work on basically reintegrating back into their life, and that's why it's important these facilities are available in the communities where they're from, so they can be near their families, so they can be near their friends, be near to potential work or volunteer opportunities," Lysyshyn explained to B.C. Almanac's Gloria Macarenko.

Lysyshyn says there are no assurances that problems won't arise, but he says Turning Point is a reputable service provider, and they haven't reported problems in the past.

Vancouver resident Steve Jones, who lives near a recovery home, says he has never witnessed any problems, but he says proper public consultation is important. 

"The people aren't wandering the streets, they're not drugged out, they're not drunk," he said. "I'm block watch captain and my experience has been … these are people, for the most part, who want to make a change in their life for the better. They're well supported and the houses tend to regulate themselves quite well."

The information meeting will take place at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at the Park Gate Community Centre.

To hear the full interview with Mark Lysyshyn, click on the audio labelled: Better understanding of recovery houses is needed, says medical health officer

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