British Columbia is in the midst of a poisoned drug crisis. In the last nine months, more than 1,500 people died from poisoned illicit drug use in the province – the most deaths recorded by the province during this time period.
Currently, resources for substance use are available yet scattered and difficult to navigate for an already vulnerable population. This is why the Stephens family has donated $3M towards a new, purpose-built Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) Withdrawal Management Centre.
“Addiction touches everyone,” says Arran and Ratana Stephens, Co-Founders of Nature’s Path. “No one is immune, no race, or ethnicity. It does not matter whether you are rich or poor or educated. So many people in the world, and so many here in British Columbia are affected by addiction.”
“By helping to establish this Withdrawal Management Centre, we hope we will be able to make a difference in many lives, to give people an opportunity to move beyond their addiction.”
Ratana and Arran Stephens, Nature’s Path
The Withdrawal Management Centre will aggregate many of these resources currently distributed across Vancouver and put them under one roof. These resources will be interconnected, providing clients and their families with an improved treatment and support system, simplifying access to care. The goal is to make the Centre as accessible and comprehensive as possible.
“The Withdrawal Management Centre will be a leading addictions care facility that will bring together specialists, services and additional social supports in a culturally safe and welcoming environment. It will enable us to provide the best possible care for patients with substance use challenges and create space for recovery,” said Bob Chapman, Interim Vice President, Vancouver Community at Vancouver Coastal Health. “The poisoned drug crisis has taken a devastating toll on our communities. We are grateful for the Stephens family and VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation for their support of the Withdrawal Management Centre and the creation of a consolidated substance use treatment and recovery facility offering a symbol of hope for our community.”
VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation has raised over $5M in support of the Withdrawal Management Centre.
“Arran and Ratana Stephens have worked hard to build their lives and businesses on doing what they know to be the right thing to do, and this tremendously selfless gift is a continuation of that legacy,” says Angela Chapman, President & CEO of VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation. “They are true visionaries, leading the way in giving to support people recovering from substance use, and de-stigmatizing this critical aspect of health care. Their generosity strengthens our community.”
The Withdrawal Management Centre is scheduled for completion in 2025. Philanthropic support will directly impact the quality of care at this centre.
“I know our donations have had an impact,” said the Stephens. “As a human being, you don’t live for yourself alone. Wherever there is a need, wherever you can make a difference, you must do so.”