The victim of a homicide in Grand Falls-Windsor earlier this month was one of at least 70 people waiting to get into addiction treatment centres in Newfoundland and Labrador.

"People who have addictions issues do not wait-list well," said Cindy Murphy, the executive director of the province's John Howard Society.

"Ultimately, there's a possibility of death," said Murphy. "Especially for the more serious drugs, opiates and those types of things."

Jason Skinner, 34, was just one week away from entering a rehabilitation facility to deal with his drug addiction when he was killed on April 13. Mary Ellen Giles, Skinner's aunt, said he had been trying for two years to be admitted for treatment. 

Wanda Ash, 34, and Pamela Pike, 31, have each been charged with first-degree murder in connection with Skinner's death.

Two treatment centres

There are only two residential treatment centres in Newfoundland and Labrador, and it can take up to six months to get in.

The Recovery Centre, a detox centre in the Pleasantville area of St. John's, accommodates 19 in-patient addicts at a time. Eastern Health says there is no wait for this facility, although there is a six-month wait for its outpatient opioid treatment service.

The Humberwood centre in Corner Brook can accommodate 15 people.

Humberwood has 46 people on its waiting list.

With limited space and more addicts needing support, Murphy says many are left with nowhere to turn.

"We know some people commit criminal activity in order to support their habit, so having a waitlist for those particular services has a detrimental affect - not only on the individual, but on society in general."