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Hand over going in right direction for qathet recovery centre

Miklat expansion will eventually include a women's facility

One key to addiction recovery is finding connection and purpose, according to Miklat Recovery Society co-founder Sean Slusarchuk. But finding affordable and effective addiction services in BC, for many, is elusive.

Miklat, a nonprofit men's recovery centre, has been operating on its own for more than four years in the qathet region. The centre has helped many men struggling with substance use disorder not only recover from addiction, but also provide them with life skills and a supportive community.

However, running effective treatment programs takes money and consistent funding. Now, after many years of being involved with Miklat, Slusarchuk is stepping away. Miklat will now operate under Together We Can: Drug and Alcohol Recovery and Education Society, a much larger organization with the ability to help Miklat expand and improve services in the qathet region.

Currently Miklat operates a 12-bed facility, and is expanding to the Arbutus site in Townsite, which will operate 12 more fully-funded beds for men. Eventually the society wants to open a women's recovery centre.

"It's about saving lives and getting men to be husbands, fathers and brothers again," said Slusarchuk. "And eventually help [women] become mothers, daughters and sisters."

Marc Dube, general manager at Together We Can, said that society, located in Vancouver, has been growing quietly for the past 30 years.

"This was based on need and not government directed; the amount of government funding is minimal," said Dube. "There's lots of fundraising, there are some private donations to offset the cost, but the reality is, the [provincial] government up until a couple of days ago was giving the per diem of $45 a day."

Dube indicated providing the proper level of service and care for people in recovery requires more like $200 per day.

"It's been very challenging, but we are very excited to be partnering with the community of Powell River," said Dube. "The community here seems very supportive, and the energy is great and there's a great recovery community here." 

Slusarchuk said it's a beautiful place for people to find some peace and start the journey of healing.

"Everybody's recipe for long term recovery or personal growth is different," said Slusarchuk. "A larger environment is okay for some people, but for many, a smaller, more intimate setting, and a geographical change, is necessary."

The Miklat and Together We Can partnership made sense, since both have a congruent philosophy to addiction recovery and most of the people working at both societies had firsthand experience with recovery and addiction.

Slusarchuk said it's been about 26 years since he went into addiction recovery and he's been thankful he found help at Hope for Freedom Society in Vancouver. He moved to the qathet region with the idea of semi-retiring seven years ago, and ended up being a key figure in the opening of Miklat. However, running a nonprofit addictions recovery facility is not easy, and when Rob Fitzpatrick, who is now director of operations, came on board, he became a key figure in keeping Miklat going.

"This [partnership] is a great opportunity for sustained, long term treatment in qathet," said Fitzpatrick. "Nonprofits are difficult to run and having the backing of a large nonprofit with 30 years of experiences, that's a blessing for us, because it provides us with long term stability."

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