Province funds 8 low-cost addiction treatment beds in North Okanagan
Public funding should mean shorter waiting times for Bill's Place in Vernon
Jacob Philp could have died of a drug overdose four years ago if he wasn't able to access treatment bed services.
Now, after four years of sobriety, the 33-year-old is glad to see the province is going to fund eight of the nearly 30 beds at Bill's Place in Vernon, B.C., where he was treated and later became a staff member.
Last week, the B.C. government announced it's spending $13 million on more than 100 recovery beds province-wide for people struggling with substance use issues.
The eight beds at Bill's Place — operated by the non-profit Turning Points Collaborative based in the northern Okanagan city — will be converted from private-pay beds to more affordable publicly funded beds.
With provincial assistance, each bed costs about $30 per day.
Philp started using methamphetamine and heroin at 23 after smoking marijuana since the age of 12.
"It just took off from there like there was a wild spiral out of control," he said to Chris Walker, host of CBC's Daybreak South.
Philp was jailed for the crimes he committed in order to get money for buying illicit drugs. He took fentanyl after release.
Finally, he realized it was time to stop and get clean. Philp's mother encouraged him to seek therapy at Bill's Place.
"It was January 2017. It was a cold winter that year," he said. "In my mind at that time, it was either get help and recover, or die."
WATCH | Jacob Philp spoke to CBC after getting clean in 2017
After waiting for about two months, Philp was admitted to Bill's Place for an eight-month stay, during which he participated in group therapies and other structured activities with fellow residents.
"When people who are sharing a common struggle work together to recover, it's really a beautiful thing," he said.
Provincial funding should mean waiting times will be shortened for accessing treatment beds.
"These eight additional treatment beds…. It's going to be a huge relief for us and for clients who are needing residential treatment," said Brad Houghton, director of addiction services with Turning Points Collaborative.
Besides having a career with the collaborative, Philp is married with two children and owns a home. He encourages anyone dealing with drug addiction, or their families, to take the first step and seek help.
"I would say to anyone who's struggling the way that I was struggling to make that decision and take the plunge [to receive drug addiction treatment], it can be scary," he said. "I would just say 'take that jump.' "
Tap the link below to hear Jacob Philp's interview on Daybreak South:
With files from Daybreak South and Brady Strachan