Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Monday, June 15, 2009

The Detox issue heats up on the Northcoast, the high schools celebrate academic and athletic success and Seafest pictures rule the day in the Monday edition of the Daily News.

A NEW NORTHWEST DETOX CENTRE NOT NECESSARILY IN THE CARDS-- The much desired detox centre for Prince Rupert seems as far off as ever these days, as a recent meeting between Northern Health and Terrace City Council seems to put the concept of a dedicated detox centre very much on the back burner. (see story below)

Both Charles Hays and Prince Rupert Secondary Schools celebrated success last week, as parents, students, teachers and administrators gathered to acknowledge those that have excelled both scholastically and athletically in the last year. The Daily News reviewed the recent assemblies of both schools with details of the quest for excellence.

There wasn't much in the way of written detail, but the Monday paper featured a number of pictures of the Seafest celebrations, providing a snapshot of the day's events. Those looking for souvenir photos of the weekend are advised to check out the hackingthemainframe home page, where a number of Prince Rupert photographers have posted a number of pictures from the weekend festivities.

The Sports page kept with the Seafest weekend theme, providing details of the Ladies Jubilee Golf tournament held over the weekend, as well as a review of the Four of Four hockey tournament which was part of the Seafest events.

Total pages in the Monday edition (12)

Front page, headline story:

By George T. Baker,
The Daily News
Monday, June 15, 2009
Pages one and three

Message from Terrace council meeting not the one Rupert wanted to hear

The issue over whether or not northwest B.C. will be home to a detox center was discussed in Terrace where Northern Health suggested that perhaps a facility like that was not realistic.

The reaction in Prince Rupert is mixed. Local politicians here spoke on the rhetoric spectrum, from outrage to wait-and-see approaches.

Northern Health's mental health and addictions manager Beth Ann Derksen told Terrace councillors at a meeting May 25 that a stand-alone facility in Terrace or anywhere in the northwest would be too costly and "would drain the resources that we may need at the acute care facility.”

Derksen told council that the services are being provided within all of the community hospitals and pointing out people with addictions can access medical detox at hospitals across the northwest.

North Coast MLA Gary Coons is none to pleased with that news.

"In Prince Rupert a detox centre has been a topic for over seven years with our council and we know the serious problems we have:' said Coons.

Coons noted 2006 provincial statistics ranking the region fifth for highest alcohol sales and sixth for highest alcohol consumption per capita; over $13 million local dollars were spent on alcohol in 2006.

Mayor Jack Mussallem said that the northwest community shouldn't jump to any conclusions regarding Northern Health's discussion with Terrace council.

"I've spoken to individuals with Northern Health that are looking at a detoxification model that they claim works within communities and they are fine tuning it," said Mussallem.

He said that he was not sure what was being discussed in Terrace but that it hasn't changed city council's point of view.

"We still believe here, until proven otherwise, that there is a need for a facility," he said.

Former City Councillor and member of the currently defunct Northwest Health Advisory Committee Tony Briglio said that he was not surprised because the health authority is looking at budgetary restraints.

"1 have heard those arguments before much like 1 have heard many similar arguments surrounding CAT scans in Prince Rupert not being feasible. We do have our CAT scan service and it is one that has been utilized over Briglio said to get that service the community of Prince Rupert had to step up and contribute.

"My perspective on any issue that the community sees as a need is let's sit down and talk.

"Don't make up your mind until such time as we have explored all avenues," said Briglio.

Provincially, the B.C. government has shown a willingness to spend on detox centres. Last January, the province announced $1.75 million in funding for 21 new detox centre beds in Victoria.

Last October, it appeared that Northern Health had seen increasing addiction services as important and promised to soon deliver increased services in the North through converting its former residential treatment program into a system of comprehensive and closer-to-home services, but no specific mention was made about what kind of service would be available for the northwest.

In a press release dated October 29, 2008, Northern Health said "having supportive recovery beds in their communities is crucial as people transition back to their home environments. For communities outside of Prince George, the provision of local supportive recovery beds will be added over the coming weeks and months."

The Daily News has put a call in through media relations at Northern Health to speak with a member of staff with the organization but as of deadline no call has been returned.

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