Rehab centres forced to scale back services during the pandemic

Rehab centres forced to scale back services during the pandemic

By Michael Boriero

Quebecers seeking out help for their struggles with addiction have faced significant difficulties finding available services during the pandemic, as rehabilitation centres resort to turning people away in order to accommodate provincial health and safety measures.

Anthony Berger, a clinical supervisor at Dunham House, told The Record it has been hard for people to access services within a reasonable amount of time, forcing them back into their homes or out onto the streets to deal with their addiction problems on their own.

“For those that specifically have an addiction issue with substance use, what we’re seeing is that there is an increased demand for services but not enough support to sustain that help, so some people are being refused or put on wait lists,” said Berger.

The delay for rehabilitation services can push several weeks, he continued, whereas prior to the pandemic, people would normally have to wait a day or two before gaining access to much-needed relief. Another longstanding problem stems from staffing shortages.

“I would say it’s just about staffing, staffing levels are always an issue, working slightly longer hours or needing to double up sometimes. If some of our staff tested positive, then other people have to pick up shifts […] it creates a bigger stress on our team,” said Berger.
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