LOADING...

Posts Tagged "addiction"

27Aug

Human rights complaint dismissed after man with sex addiction banned from yoga studio

by admin

A man who says he has a sex addiction had his human rights complaint dismissed after alleging he was discriminated against when he was banned from a White Rock yoga studio.

According to a BC Human Rights Tribunal application to dismiss, Erik Rutherford said he attended classes at Westcoast Hot Yoga for over 10 years. When he asked for coaching services from one of the studio’s employees who has her own outside business, however, he was turned down. 

Background in the dismissal application says Rutherford had told the coach “he was seeking help with sex addiction,” but the coach said this wasn’t her field of expertise. He also opened up to other staff about his former experiences with addiction.

Rutherford added that he had reached out to the coach “out of trust as she had offered her health coaching business to me as she had male clients from our studio, but admittedly I contacted her partly due to my mental disability as she is an attractive healthy woman.”

After asking for coaching help and telling staff about his addiction background, Rutherford alleges he was discriminated against by staff, saying they looked at him differently, gossiped about him and eventually wouldn’t let him take yoga classes at the studio. 

The yoga studio, however, said their decision to not allow Rutherford to attend classes anymore had nothing to do with his mental health. 

Instead, Westcoast told the tribunal that Rutherford “began phoning, texting and emailing Westcoast staff at all hours, making staff and some clients uncomfortable,” after his coaching request was denied. 

The yoga studio went on to say that the reason he was asked to practice somewhere else was because he didn’t “stop harassing (them) with emails and false accusations against teachers.” The yoga studio even went so far as to speak to police for help. 

Tribunal documents show that, on May 13, 2018, Rutherford sent an email to the yoga studio, stating he had talked to his 12-step advisor about the situation. 

“My main thing is alcohol but only on vacation,” the email said. “My main issue is internet or cyber pornography that is not related to the studio. If I am paying for yoga, kindly tell your instructors to not silently judge.”

The next day, Rutherford attended a yoga class and later that afternoon, got an email response from the studio. 

“I have had some very upset conversations this morning from my staff, in regards to voice messages left late last night and also teachers receiving messages from you late last night,” the email to Rutherford said. 

“On Saturday I did have a lady concerned about you staring constantly in class … it makes people very uncomfortable, and your constant approaching (the coach) at all hours, and sharing your personal issues has made her and some other staff after your message very uncomfortable.”

The email went on to say that Rutherford’s recently purchased class pass would be refunded. 

“Please do not send any further messages to all these parties, or there will need to have the police involved,” the email said. 

The BC Human Rights Tribunal has the authority to apply for a complaint to be dismissed before it goes to a hearing, particularly if the tribunal member feels the complaint doesn’t “warrant the time or expense of a hearing.” In this case, tribunal member Emily Ohler explained she did not think Rutherford’s complaint would succeed. 

Rutherford responded, saying his “disease is spiritual, mental, physical and social and financially void disease with many different facets and can easily display itself in sexual manifestations especially when abstaining from drugs and alcohol.” 

He went on to say he hasn’t “used the dangerous chemicals since early 2003.”

However, when Rutherford spoke to a doctor to get a diagnosis for his mental health issues and submit a letter to the tribunal, the doctor did not supply a diagnosis. Instead, wrote that Rutherford “does not always recognize personal boundaries,” adding that “he was more likely barred because of some behaviour that either annoyed, scared or offended an instructor.”

In her decision, Ohler said she was “reasonably certain” the yoga studio would be able to prove in a hearing “that continuing to allow Mr. Rutherford to practice yoga at its studio in the circumstances would constitute undue hardship.” 

27Aug

Man with sex addiction banned from yoga studio; human rights complaint dismissed

by admin

A man who says he has a sex addiction had his human rights complaint dismissed after alleging he was discriminated against when he was banned from a White Rock yoga studio.

According to a BC Human Rights Tribunal application to dismiss, Erik Rutherford said he attended classes at Westcoast Hot Yoga for over 10 years. When he asked for coaching services from one of the studio’s employees who has her own outside business, however, he was turned down. 

Background in the dismissal application says Rutherford had told the coach “he was seeking help with sex addiction,” but the coach said this wasn’t her field of expertise. He also opened up to other staff about his former experiences with addiction.

Rutherford added that he had reached out to the coach “out of trust as she had offered her health coaching business to me as she had male clients from our studio, but admittedly I contacted her partly due to my mental disability as she is an attractive healthy woman.”

After asking for coaching help and telling staff about his addiction background, Rutherford alleges he was discriminated against by staff, saying they looked at him differently, gossiped about him and eventually wouldn’t let him take yoga classes at the studio. 

The yoga studio, however, said their decision to not allow Rutherford to attend classes anymore had nothing to do with his mental health. 

Instead, Westcoast told the tribunal that Rutherford “began phoning, texting and emailing Westcoast staff at all hours, making staff and some clients uncomfortable,” after his coaching request was denied. 

The yoga studio went on to say that the reason he was asked to practice somewhere else was because he didn’t “stop harassing (them) with emails and false accusations against teachers.” The yoga studio even went so far as to speak to police for help. 

Tribunal documents show that, on May 13, 2018, Rutherford sent an email to the yoga studio, stating he had talked to his 12-step advisor about the situation. 

“My main thing is alcohol but only on vacation,” the email said. “My main issue is internet or cyber pornography that is not related to the studio. If I am paying for yoga, kindly tell your instructors to not silently judge.”

The next day, Rutherford attended a yoga class and later that afternoon, got an email response from the studio. 

“I have had some very upset conversations this morning from my staff, in regards to voice messages left late last night and also teachers receiving messages from you late last night,” the email to Rutherford said. 

“On Saturday I did have a lady concerned about you staring constantly in class … it makes people very uncomfortable, and your constant approaching (the coach) at all hours, and sharing your personal issues has made her and some other staff after your message very uncomfortable.”

The email went on to say that Rutherford’s recently purchased class pass would be refunded. 

“Please do not send any further messages to all these parties, or there will need to have the police involved,” the email said. 

The BC Human Rights Tribunal has the authority to apply for a complaint to be dismissed before it goes to a hearing, particularly if the tribunal member feels the complaint doesn’t “warrant the time or expense of a hearing.” In this case, tribunal member Emily Ohler explained she did not think Rutherford’s complaint would succeed. 

Rutherford responded, saying his “disease is spiritual, mental, physical and social and financially void disease with many different facets and can easily display itself in sexual manifestations especially when abstaining from drugs and alcohol.” 

He went on to say he hasn’t “used the dangerous chemicals since early 2003.”

However, when Rutherford spoke to a doctor to get a diagnosis for his mental health issues and submit a letter to the tribunal, the doctor did not supply a diagnosis. Instead, wrote that Rutherford “does not always recognize personal boundaries,” adding that “he was more likely barred because of some behaviour that either annoyed, scared or offended an instructor.”

In her decision, Ohler said she was “reasonably certain” the yoga studio would be able to prove in a hearing “that continuing to allow Mr. Rutherford to practice yoga at its studio in the circumstances would constitute undue hardship.” 

9Aug

Daphne Bramham: Why won’t B.C. fund Karly’s addiction recovery?

by admin

As of today, Karly has been clean and sober for 30 days after four years of battling addiction.

Addiction made the 17-year-old from Chiliwack vulnerable to exploitation and bullying. It disrupted her schooling, left her psychotic, suicidal, near death and unable to care for her year-old baby.

“In addiction, I never thought I could be this happy without drugs,” she said earlier this week.

“There’s obviously times when I’m feeling like I don’t want to live any more. But I realize a lot of people do care for me, and it would hurt a lot of people if I did leave.”

Up until now, Karly didn’t worry that fentanyl laced in the cocaine, crystal meth and other street drugs she’s used might kill her, as it has more than 4,000 other British Columbians in the past four years.

“Honestly, I just thought I wasn’t going to get that wrong batch. I thought I could trust my dealers. Now, I’m starting to realize the risk. I was using alone. It’s pretty scary now that I think about it.

“I could have overdosed, my poor son he would have had no mom.”

But Karly’s recovery is at risk because the B.C. government is refusing to pay for her treatment. The question of why was bounced from the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions to the Ministry of Children and Family Development, back to addictions, then back to MCFD, and finally to Fraser Health over two days.

Friday afternoon, MCFD responded that due to privacy concerns it could not discuss the specifics of the case.

The spokesperson did confirm that the government pays for youth residential treatment. Funds are allocated by the health ministry to regional health authorities. MCFD social workers are supposed to refer youth and families to the health authority, which is supposed to do the assessments and placements.

Reached late Friday afternoon, Fraser Health said that it does not have provincial funding for youth beds at Westminster House, where Karly is getting treatment, only adult beds.

Postmedia editors and I are also concerned about Karly’s privacy and vulnerability. For that reason, we are not using her real name, or that of her mother.

•••

On July 10, her mother Krista found Karly white-faced and barely breathing on the floor. It was a moment she had been bracing for since 2015.

Krista, who is a nurse, didn’t need the naloxone kit that she keeps at the ready. She shook Karly awake and got her into the car to take her to Surrey Creekside Withdrawal Management Centre.

En route, Karly flailed about, kicking in the glove box, banging her head against the window and screaming.

“She was in psychosis. She was not my child,” Krista said. “It took six nurses and two doctors to get her inside.”

At 9 p.m, Karly called her mom to say that if they didn’t let her out, she was going to escape, prostitute myself and get enough money to kill herself.

“I felt in my heart that she was really going to do it.”

Panicked, Krista called Susan Hogarth, Westminster House’s executive director, and begged for help. Westminster House is a residential treatment centre for women, with four designated youth beds in New Westminster.

Even though it was past midnight, Hogarth agreed to take Karly.

“We can’t not put a child somewhere,” Hogarth said this week.

The cost for treatment at Westminster House is $9,000 a month, meaning Krista needs $27,000 to pay for the three months of treatment that counsellors say Karly needs to be stabilized enough to go into second-stage care.

The crucial first month of treatment was covered using donations from individuals, and Hockey for the Homeless.

Now there are bills to be paid.

Related

Krista’s only contact with the government has been through MCFD. A social worker helped Karly get mental health services, pre- and post-natal care and helped Krista gain guardianship of her year-old grandson last month.

It’s the social worker who told the family that the government would pay for a 10-week, co-ed live-in treatment program at Vancouver’s Peak House, but not Westminster House.

But Krista and Westminster House’s director believe a co-ed program that has no trauma counselling is not a good fit for Karly.

The only other option suggested was outpatient treatment. But Karly’s already tried and failed at that. Besides, her dealer lives two blocks from their home.

If Karly was an adult on welfare, the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction would pay $30.90 a day for her room and board in residential care.

Bizarrely, Krista said the social worker suggested maybe Karly could just wait a year and then her treatment would be fully covered.

“This is f–ing BS. I can’t wait until she’s older. She’ll be dead,” said Krista, who has had her own problems with addiction. An alumni of Westminster House, she is four years into recovery.

Concerns about how to pay for Karly’s treatment in addition to caring for Karly’s baby and Karly’s younger sister are wearing heavily on Krista. She’s had to take a medical leave from her job, and is worried about how she will pay her rent.

She’s already spent four years in a constant state of readiness in case Karly overdoses. There’s naloxone in the house. The razors are hidden because “Karly cuts, cuts.” Every time Karly took a bath, Krista stood apprehensively by the door because her daughter had threatened to drown herself.

But now?

“She is doing amazing,” Krista said. “The first time I saw her was 15 to 16 days in, and she had colour in her cheeks and they were my kid’s eyes, beautiful brown . . .

“When I brought her son to see her, her smile so genuine. I had not seen it in so many years. The smile was what I remember of her as a kid.”

Hogarth wonders why the government can’t look at the bigger picture of what Karly’s untreated addiction might cost — from more overdoses to her mother’s fragile state to the fate of her son.

Everybody, Hogarth said, deserves a chance at recovery and not just harm reduction interventions.

“Karly is not the easiest client in the world,” she said with a laugh. “But she’s worth it because we want her to go home to her son and to be able to raise him.”

For now, the non-profit Westminster House is covering Karly’s costs with donations augmented by a GoFundMe campaign organized by Krista’s friends.

But it can’t do that forever, or without more donations.

As for Karly, for the first time in years she’s thinking about a future. She won’t be ready to start school in September, but plans to go back as soon as she can for Grade 12 and then go on to study so that she can work in health care.

“I feel like my story can help other people.”

Related

[email protected]

Twitter: @bramham_daphne

CLICK HERE to report a typo.

Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email [email protected]

8Jul

Mental health and addiction youth teams launched in Maple Ridge schools

by admin


BC Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy.


Jason Payne / PNG Files

Students in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District will become the first to get team support, or so-called wraparound care, for those with mental health and addiction challenges.

Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy says the integrated teams will work with schools and specialized service providers to offer complete care to students and their families.

Last month, the government announced its 10-year Pathway to Hope program aimed at helping and supporting young people with mental health and addiction challenges.

Darcy says the government has committed $2.5 billion for mental health and addiction services, and that includes $10 million in grants to non-profit groups to offer affordable counselling to youth and families.

The government said the teams will work with those experiencing challenges and their families won’t have to retell their stories to different care providers or search on their own for the supports they need.

Darcy says the new mental health and addiction services model will be implemented in the district by this 2019.

“It is very striking that with all the diversity of perspective and the diversity of experience, there was so much clarity on the way to go,” says Darcy, who made the announcement a Maple Ridge elementary school.

“The Pathway to Hope focuses on our most urgent priorities first, so that we’re helping people when they need it now and reducing demand on services down the road.”

After the government’s program announcement in June, a B.C. coroner’s jury examining the overdose death of 16-year-old Victoria-area youth Elliot Eurchuk called on government to improve early detection of mental health and substance use disorders within schools.


Source link

8Apr

Gambling for his life: Addiction to online gaming nearly cost one B.C. man everything

by admin

On the morning of Aug. 21, 2017, Tyler Hatch put his dogs in their crates and wrote two suicide notes — one to his parents, the other, his wife.

He downed a bottle of sleeping pills with four beers, then fixed a belt around his neck.

After alerting 911 (so his wife wouldn’t have to deal with his dead body when she got home from work), Hatch hung up the phone and waited for death.

Through the fog of asphyxiation he heard the the faraway ring of a phone. It was 911 calling back.

Hatch managed to answer. “I’m glad I did.”

He didn’t want to die, he wanted help.

That awful day was the beginning of a journey toward self-worth that would include facing up to a gambling addiction that cost him a half-million dollars, getting treatment, filing a lawsuit against the B.C. Lottery Corp., and later withdrawing the suit.

Hatch now wants to make two things clear: He takes full responsibility for his actions, and if his story can help others, he’s eager to share it.

In a bright Yaletown office, Hatch, who now specializes in digital forensics, opened up about his path through depression, gambling addiction and recovery.

His game was blackjack, his dealer was online, his hand was $500.

“It was just me against my computer,” said Hatch.

The whole time he was gambling, Hatch, 42, believed he was in control — he even signed up for voluntary self-exclusion periods of three to six months, meant to help gamblers put the habit on hold.

The problem started years before, when the Surrey-born lawyer began to feel stressed by the demands of his career in commercial litigation. He dealt with the pressure by self-medicating — fast food, a few too many beers after work. “I would dread the next day coming, so I would stay up late.”

He spiralled into a depression. In 2010, he had a breakdown.

Eventually, his doctor advised him he should not return to law. Hatch took a permanent disability settlement worth $5,000 a month.

Married with no children, and not working, still coping with depression, Hatch was at loose ends. He began to gamble casually online. There were no indications that gambling would become a problem. He was the guy who called it a day if he lost $100 at a casino.

Online, things were different.

“It’s not real money, it’s not a chip. It’s just a little blue dot on your computer screen. It doesn’t seem real.”

Hatch didn’t know it, but EGMs, or electronic gaming machines and VTLs (Video lottery terminals) are tied to higher rates of gambling addiction. Provinces with a higher proportion of EGMs have greater gambling addiction rates.

“I won all the time, massive amounts of money, ten grand within minutes,” said Hatch. But, like so many gamblers, he found it impossible to walk away with a win. “It wasn’t about winning or losing. It was about the rush of the game.”

Besides, he had something he was good at again.  He had a system. Sure, he lost more than he won, but he had a system, he kept spreadsheets, he was sure he could win back what he lost.

Hatch freed up more money by renegotiating his monthly disability for a lump sum settlement. In January 2016, he received a $550,000 payout.

Soon he was gambling $10,000 a week, the max allowed by BCLC online, and losing.

Hatch was also living a double life. No one knew what was happening. He didn’t understand it either. “I felt like I was consciously making a choice, I wasn’t aware of the compulsion.”

“My plan was to either win what I had lost back, or if I lost it all I was going to commit suicide.”

Within months, the money was gone. Hatch had hedged his bets, and lost.

The suicide attempt was a turning point. Friends and family supported his decision to enter a residential treatment centre. While in treatment, Hatch’s doctor noticed that one of the medications he was on, Abilify, was part of a class of dopamine agonists known to amplify compulsive behaviours, like gambling.

Now in recovery Hatch hopes others who recognize themselves in his story will reach out for help.

“There are a lot of free resources available,” says Hatch. “Talk to the people around you who want you to have a healthy, productive life. Talk to your friends, your family, your doctor.”

About 72.5 per cent of B.C. residents gamble in some form; 11.2 per cent identify as low to moderate and high-risk problem gamblers. At risk/problem gamblers are more likely to have mental health issues.

Life is amazing now, says Hatch. “I feel healthy. I don’t drink, I don’t gamble. I feel strong mentally.”

If you think you have a problem with gambling, go to www.bcresponsiblegambling.ca/resources-links/program-resources

[email protected]


Source link

20Mar

Former B.C. prisoner says no addiction help available as he feared return behind bars

by admin

Memories of vomiting, diarrhea and unrelenting stomach pain as he withdrew from opioids in prison had Rob MacDonald repeatedly asking for addiction treatment before he left a maximum-security facility but despite dozens of formal complaints, he says he didn’t get any help.

“I was thinking, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I’m going out onto the street with this addiction,”‘ MacDonald said recently a week after being released on supervision from the Atlantic Institution in Renous, N.B., his fourth facility in over a decade behind bars.

MacDonald, 41, said he feared his 15-year opioid addiction would cause him to returned to crime while using illicit drugs on the outside so he tried desperately to get treatment from the federal prison service.

“I put 150 requests in, probably 70 complaints, for a 15-month period, trying to tell them, ‘Put me on it. I need it before I get out. I want to get help, I don’t want to go back into the community in a high-risk situation, I don’t want to re-offend,’ ” he said from Halifax, where he lives in a halfway house.

He said he complained to the warden and then appealed to the commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada. One of his complaints to the commissioner was upheld but he said he was placed on a wait list because there was a limit on the number of inmates receiving treatment.

Rob MacDonald recalls vomiting, diarrhea and unrelenting stomach pain as he withdrew from opioids in prison, despite having asked repeatedly for addiction treatment before he leaving a maximum-security facility. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese)

Sought out smuggled fentanyl

When he was incarcerated at British Columbia’s Kent Institution between 2017 and 2019 for drug-related offences and robbery, MacDonald said debilitating withdrawal symptoms had him seeking potentially deadly fentanyl-laced drugs that were smuggled into the prison.

“At least eight guys died in the 17, 18 months I was at Kent,” he said.

The Correctional Service linked MacDonald to a clinic in Halifax upon his release nearly two weeks ago and he is now prescribed the opioid substitute Suboxone. But he said he should have received the medication in prison as part of the agency’s treatment program, which also includes methadone, so he could focus on finding a construction job to get his life back on track.

Ivan Zinger, Canada’s ombudsman for offenders, said the Correctional Service has failed to provide adequate addiction treatment, programs and staff at a time when more drugs are contaminated with fentanyl.

“I think when you’re dealing with a large inmate population that has such a long history of substance abuse you should be providing an awful lot more treatment and programming in addition to opioid substitution therapy,” said Zinger, who called for the reallocation of funding to provide those services.

“It’s unclear to me why the budget has remained the same and decreased in the past when clearly the number of incidents is increasing,” he said of overdoses that caused 41 deaths between 2010 and 2018.

Treatment not soon enough

Zinger said programs such as counselling are provided just before offenders are released instead of throughout their incarceration.

“That’s a problem when you have a highly addicted inmate population that has a lot of time on their hands and are in sometimes difficult conditions of confinement. They will find ways to bring in drugs.”

The Correctional Service said in a statement that 66 per cent more prisoners have accessed treatment in the last two years, but a jump of 115 per cent has been recorded in the Pacific region, where the opioid crisis is most acute.

It did not respond to requests for information on whether its budget will be increased to meet the demand for more treatment.

Kent Elson, a lawyer for an offender at Joyceville Institution in Kingston, Ont., said the Correctional Service did not accommodate his client’s disability of addiction so he filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission last November.

Elson said his 50-year-old client, who is serving a four-year sentence, had been on methadone but alleges the medication was withheld without explanation for five days when he was transferred from another facility in November 2017.

‘Incredibly traumatic’

“He needed medical help and he got forced, cold-turkey withdrawal in a feces-smeared segregation cell and cruel mistreatment from guards. And it was so unbearable that he tried to kill himself three times,” Elson said from Toronto.

While Correctional Service guidelines state a doctor is required to interview offenders before they are involuntarily tapered or cut off from methadone or Suboxone, Elson said his client was not seen by a physician.

“This whole experience was incredibly traumatic and he ended up with PTSD,” he said.

“The impact on him was terrible but everybody wins if prisoners get the right treatment. Suffering from PTSD is not going to make them easier to integrate back into society.”

The Correctional Service did not respond to a request for comment on the human rights complaint filed by Elson or another from the Prisoners’ Legal Services. The B.C. group’s complaint was filed in June 2018 on behalf of offenders who accused the Correctional Service of discriminating against them.

Nicole Kief, an advocate for the group, said about 100 inmates reported three main concerns: long wait lists for treatment, being cut off Suboxone after false accusations of diverting it and not receiving addiction counselling.

“Of the people that I’ve talked to there has been a real sense of urgency, with people calling me and saying, ‘I’m worried about dying,”‘ she said.


Source link

20Mar

Prisons fail to provide adequate addiction treatment: ombudsman

by admin

Camille Bains, The Canadian Press


Published Wednesday, March 20, 2019 11:08AM PDT

VANCOUVER – Memories of vomiting, diarrhea and unrelenting stomach pain as he withdrew from opioids in prison had Rob MacDonald repeatedly asking for addiction treatment before he left a maximum-security facility but despite dozens of formal complaints, he says he didn’t get any help.

“I was thinking, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I’m going out onto the street with this addiction,”’ MacDonald said recently a week after being released on supervision from the Atlantic Institution in Renous, N.B., his fourth facility in over a decade behind bars.

MacDonald, 41, said he feared his 15-year opioid addiction would cause him to returned to crime while using illicit drugs on the outside so he tried desperately to get treatment from the federal prison service.

“I put 150 requests in, probably 70 complaints, for a 15-month period, trying to tell them, ‘Put me on it. I need it before I get out. I want to get help, I don’t want to go back into the community in a high-risk situation, I don’t want to re-offend,’ ” he said from Halifax, where he lives in a halfway house.

He said he complained to the warden and then appealed to the commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada. One of his complaints to the commissioner was upheld but he said he was placed on a wait list because there was a limit on the number of inmates receiving treatment.

When he was incarcerated at British Columbia’s Kent Institution between 2017 and 2019 for drug-related offences and robbery, MacDonald said debilitating withdrawal symptoms had him seeking potentially deadly fentanyl-laced drugs that were smuggled into the prison.

“At least eight guys died in the 17, 18 months I was at Kent,” he said.

The Correctional Service linked MacDonald to a clinic in Halifax upon his release nearly two weeks ago and he is now prescribed the opioid substitute Suboxone. But he said he should have received the medication in prison as part of the agency’s treatment program, which also includes methadone, so he could focus on finding a construction job to get his life back on track.

Ivan Zinger, Canada’s ombudsman for offenders, said the Correctional Service has failed to provide adequate addiction treatment, programs and staff at a time when more drugs are contaminated with fentanyl.

“I think when you’re dealing with a large inmate population that has such a long history of substance abuse you should be providing an awful lot more treatment and programming in addition to opioid substitution therapy,” said Zinger, who called for the reallocation of funding to provide those services.

“It’s unclear to me why the budget has remained the same and decreased in the past when clearly the number of incidents is increasing,” he said of overdoses that caused 41 deaths between 2010 and 2018.

Zinger said programs such as counselling are provided just before offenders are released instead of throughout their incarceration.

“That’s a problem when you have a highly addicted inmate population that has a lot of time on their hands and are in sometimes difficult conditions of confinement. They will find ways to bring in drugs.”

The Correctional Service said in a statement that 66 per cent more prisoners have accessed treatment in the last two years, but a jump of 115 per cent has been recorded in the Pacific region, where the opioid crisis is most acute.

It did not respond to requests for information on whether its budget will be increased to meet the demand for more treatment.

Kent Elson, a lawyer for an offender at Joyceville Institution in Kingston, Ont., said the Correctional Service did not accommodate his client’s disability of addiction so he filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission last November.

Elson said his 50-year-old client, who is serving a four-year sentence, had been on methadone but alleges the medication was withheld without explanation for five days when he was transferred from another facility in November 2017.

“He needed medical help and he got forced, cold-turkey withdrawal in a feces-smeared segregation cell and cruel mistreatment from guards. And it was so unbearable that he tried to kill himself three times,” Elson said from Toronto.

While Correctional Service guidelines state a doctor is required to interview offenders before they are involuntarily tapered or cut off from methadone or Suboxone, Elson said his client was not seen by a physician.

“This whole experience was incredibly traumatic and he ended up with PTSD,” he said.

“The impact on him was terrible but everybody wins if prisoners get the right treatment. Suffering from PTSD is not going to make them easier to integrate back into society.”

The Correctional Service did not respond to a request for comment on the human rights complaint filed by Elson or another from the Prisoners’ Legal Services. The B.C. group’s complaint was filed in June 2018 on behalf of offenders who accused the Correctional Service of discriminating against them.

Nicole Kief, an advocate for the group, said about 100 inmates reported three main concerns: long wait lists for treatment, being cut off Suboxone after false accusations of diverting it and not receiving addiction counselling.

“Of the people that I’ve talked to there has been a real sense of urgency, with people calling me and saying, ‘I’m worried about dying,”’ she said.


Source link

20Mar

Jail drugs: Ex-prisoner says no addiction help as life outside loomed

by admin

VANCOUVER — Memories of vomiting, diarrhea and unrelenting stomach pain as he withdrew from opioids in prison had Rob MacDonald repeatedly asking for addiction treatment before he left a maximum-security facility but despite dozens of formal complaints, he says he didn’t get any help.

“I was thinking, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I’m going out onto the street with this addiction,”‘ MacDonald said recently, a week after being released on supervision from the Atlantic Institution in Renous, N.B., his fourth facility in over a decade behind bars.

MacDonald, 41, said he feared his 15-year opioid addiction would cause him to returned to crime while using illicit drugs on the outside so he tried desperately to get treatment from the federal prison service.

“I put 150 requests in, probably 70 complaints, for a 15-month period, trying to tell them, ‘Put me on it. I need it before I get out. I want to get help, I don’t want to go back into the community in a high-risk situation, I don’t want to re-offend,’ ” he said from Halifax, where he lives in a halfway house.

He said he complained to the warden and then appealed to the commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada. One of his complaints to the commissioner was upheld but he said he was placed on a wait list because there was a limit on the number of inmates receiving treatment.

When he was incarcerated at Agassiz’s Kent Institution between 2017 and 2019 for drug-related offences and robbery, MacDonald said debilitating withdrawal symptoms had him seeking potentially deadly fentanyl-laced drugs that were smuggled into the prison.

“At least eight guys died in the 17, 18 months I was at Kent,” he said.

The Correctional Service linked MacDonald to a clinic in Halifax upon his release nearly two weeks ago and he is now prescribed the opioid substitute Suboxone. But he said he should have received the medication in prison as part of the agency’s treatment program, which also includes methadone, so he could focus on finding a construction job to get his life back on track.

'At least eight guys died in the 17, 18 months I was at Kent,' Rob MacDonald says of the Agassiz maximum security penitentiary.


‘At least eight guys died in the 17, 18 months I was at Kent,’ Rob MacDonald says of the Agassiz maximum security penitentiary.

Darren Calabrese /

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Ivan Zinger, Canada’s ombudsman for offenders, said the Correctional Service has failed to provide adequate addiction treatment, programs and staff at a time when more drugs are contaminated with fentanyl.

“I think when you’re dealing with a large inmate population that has such a long history of substance abuse you should be providing an awful lot more treatment and programming in addition to opioid substitution therapy,” said Zinger, who called for the reallocation of funding to provide those services.

“It’s unclear to me why the budget has remained the same and decreased in the past when clearly the number of incidents is increasing,” he said of overdoses that caused 41 deaths between 2010 and 2018.

Zinger said programs such as counselling are provided just before offenders are released instead of throughout their incarceration.

“That’s a problem when you have a highly addicted inmate population that has a lot of time on their hands and are in sometimes difficult conditions of confinement. They will find ways to bring in drugs.”

The Correctional Service said in a statement that 66 per cent more prisoners have accessed treatment in the last two years, but a jump of 115 per cent has been recorded in the Pacific region, where the opioid crisis is most acute.

It did not respond to requests for information on whether its budget will be increased to meet the demand for more treatment.

Kent Elson, a lawyer for an offender at Joyceville Institution in Kingston, Ont., said the Correctional Service did not accommodate his client’s disability of addiction so he filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission last November.

Rob MacDonald, who was released last week on supervision from the Atlantic Institution maximum security facility in New Brunswick after a 10-year stint in four facilities including Kent Institution in Agassiz.


Rob MacDonald, who was released last week on supervision from the Atlantic Institution maximum security facility in New Brunswick after a 10-year stint in four facilities including Kent Institution in Agassiz.

Darren Calabrese /

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Elson said his 50-year-old client, who is serving a four-year sentence, had been on methadone but alleges the medication was withheld without explanation for five days when he was transferred from another facility in November 2017.

“He needed medical help and he got forced, cold-turkey withdrawal in a feces-smeared segregation cell and cruel mistreatment from guards. And it was so unbearable that he tried to kill himself three times,” Elson said from Toronto.

While Correctional Service guidelines state a doctor is required to interview offenders before they are involuntarily tapered or cut off from methadone or Suboxone, Elson said his client was not seen by a physician.

“This whole experience was incredibly traumatic and he ended up with PTSD,” he said.

“The impact on him was terrible but everybody wins if prisoners get the right treatment. Suffering from PTSD is not going to make them easier to integrate back into society.”

The Correctional Service did not respond to a request for comment on the human rights complaint filed by Elson or another from the Prisoners’ Legal Services. The B.C. group’s complaint was filed in June 2018 on behalf of offenders who accused the Correctional Service of discriminating against them.

Nicole Kief, an advocate for the group, said about 100 inmates reported three main concerns: long wait lists for treatment, being cut off Suboxone after false accusations of diverting it and not receiving addiction counselling.

“Of the people that I’ve talked to there has been a real sense of urgency, with people calling me and saying, ‘I’m worried about dying,”‘ she said.

Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter.

Related

CLICK HERE to report a typo.

Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email [email protected].




Source link

This website uses cookies and asks your personal data to enhance your browsing experience.