Local rehab program showing signs of success

By on June 29, 2017
A room at ASK Wellness on Quilchena Avenue where the Drug Addictions Recovery Program (DARP) meeting are held. (Michael Potestio/Herald)

The first wave of clients have now graduated from a 12-week, drug treatment program run out of ASK Wellness in Merritt by Interior Health Authority (IHA) staff.

The Daily Addictions Recovery Program (DARP) is a rehab program which began after ASK Wellness received IHA funding for six support recovery beds last year.

These “beds” are actually subsidized rental units in the community, filled by clients for six months on the condition they participate in DARP.

The co-ed program is abstinence-based and open to anyone who has been sober for a week and has access to safe and secure housing.

DARP is all about teaching a person how to maintain a healthy, drug free lifestyle on their own, and has proven effective for the first wave of participants.

“The change to a healthier lifestyle has been tremendous,” said DARP clinician Doris Bruno. “There’s [been] achievement of their personal goals. Some have gone on to employment, some are pursuing volunteer work and looking at employment readiness skills, and some are looking at furthering their education.”

Some patients have even begun to reconcile with family members, she added.

After six months in the subsidized housing, ASK meets with both landlord and client to discuss if he or she is ready, willing and able to take on their own tenancy.

All six recovery beds were filled early in 2017, however, only one person has taken over the lease, said Bruno.

Some are still living in the supportive housing, while a couple have moved on after treatment. More clients were brought in to fill those spaces, said Bruno.

A new rental unit has been found to replace the one taken over by a client, and more of the six recovery bed spaces will be opening up again this summer, Bruno told the Herald.

There are also spaces available for those wishing to sign up for DARP.

IHA manager, Philip Snyman, oversees DARP and said it has been a success.

“Anecdotally, there’s been tremendous success thus far in terms of folks being able to maintain their recovery, [and] make sure they stay connected as they live independently,” said Snyman.

Snyman said about half of the DARP participants currently utilizing the housing come from the broader Thompson region and the other half are from Merritt.

DARP meetings are free of charge and held at ASK Wellness on Quilchena Avenue, Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Recovery skills program being offered

In addition to DARP, the Interior Health Authority has started offering a recovery skills group for people looking to curb their drug use.

“It’s a weekly program and it is drop in. It’s for people who maybe aren’t quite ready for full abstinence recovery, but are certainly looking at making changes in their drug use,” said Bruno.

In this program clients learn skills surrounding how to say no, raising your self esteem and how to problem solve in life.

“It acts as a bridge to [possibly] entering the more intensive programming,” said Snyman. “It’s an introduction to recovery at an early stage.”

New participants are always welcome and the group meets at ASK Wellness on Quilchena Avenue every Thursday at 2:30 p.m.

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