Recovery services and treatment support

Last updated on June 17, 2024

Just as everyone has a different life path, people experiencing substance use challenges can have different healing journeys. Whichever path someone takes, support is an essential resource throughout their healing journey.

Help is available

Often people who are seeking treatment and recovery from substance use challenges try a variety of supports to find what works best for them.

For some, making connections to harm reduction services, peer-support or outreach services may be the first step towards finding a pathway to healing. For others, medication-assisted treatments like opioid agonist treatment can be the first step. No matter which stage you or your loved ones may be in, healing is possible.

Contact your local health authority to find out about the intake process for services in your region.

Call 8-1-1 from anywhere in B.C. anytime of the day or night to speak to a health services navigator. They can help you find health information and services or connect you directly with a registered nurse.

Treatment and supportive recovery services 

Treatment and supportive recovery services are live-in or bed-based substance use services that offer a range of programs and supports to help people who are looking to reduce or abstain from substances, and/or reduce harms associated with substance use. Programs can vary both in length, types of services offered, model of care and intensity of supports available.

The following services are made available by the BC Centre on Substance Use as an easily accessible tool for individuals to find service options available in their community.

Accessing treatment and recovery services

Often conversations with a health care provider, outreach or harm reduction support worker can help someone find the services they need when and where they need them.

Following a medical assessment, patients can be referred to treatment options depending on a variety of factors, such as age, social connections (e.g., pregnant or parent of young children), health condition, location, substance of addiction and previous treatment history.

There are a range of services available. Some treatment options are less intensive and accessible while living in the community. Others are more intensive and can be provided in a hospital. The important thing is pursuing holistic treatment that addresses the root causes of addiction. Many services are available at low or no-cost through informal networks, such as group counselling and peer support. Other treatment options include opioid agonist treatment, individual counselling, supportive recovery services and intensive residential treatment. 

Substance use treatment options

First Nations Treatment Centres: In British Columbia there are currently 10 First Nations residential treatment centres.

Opioid Agonist Treatment: Opioid agonist treatment is the first-line recommended treatment for opioid use disorder, also known as opioid dependence or addiction. In opioid agonist treatment, opioid substitution medication (such as Suboxone or methadone) is provided to an individual to manage opioid withdrawal. This treatment is prescribed by a physician and may be offered as part of residential or outpatient treatment programs.

Outpatient Treatment Services: Substance use services and supports provided in an office or outpatient clinic setting. Services may include one-on-one or group counselling, connection to medical treatment such as opioid agonist treatment, and help accessing other community supports such as housing and peer support groups.

Residential Treatment: Time-limited, live-in intensive treatment (typically 60-90 days) for individuals experiencing substance use-related challenges. Treatment includes group and one-on-one counselling, medical consultations, as well as life skills training, family support programs and other programs such as art, yoga, music and narrative therapies.

Stabilization and Transitional Services: A temporary residential setting that provides a safe environment with medical and clinical supports for individuals who are experiencing complex substance-use problems and unstable living conditions.

Supportive Recovery Residences: Supportive recovery services can be delivered in different environments, including licensed residences or registered assisted living residences. Supportive recovery residences provide a safe, communal environment where individuals have the opportunity and the support to focus on their recovery journey and  are suitable for people who may have completed a more intensive treatment program or require daily structure and support to prepare them for a more intensive treatment program. 

Withdrawal Management – Facility or Residential Based: A short-term service (up to 7 days) that provides clinical support to people withdrawing from substances. Withdrawal management takes place in different settings, including community, hospital, or home (with clinical team support).

Substance-Use Sobering and Assessment Beds: A short-term (less than 24 hours), safe place for people under the influence of substances. When possible, individuals are connected to other health-care services, such as opioid substitution therapy, withdrawal management, group therapy and one-on-one outpatient counselling.


Detox, or withdrawal management, is often seen as a way to "dry out" or "get clean."

Detox alone does not address the many underlying factors that can lead to substance use challenges. If used, withdrawal management should be accompanied by ongoing treatment, such as outpatient treatment services, opioid agonist treatment, or residential treatment.

Additional services

Alcohol and Drug Information & Referral Service: Individual, family, and small group counselling for people of all ages who are affected by alcohol and other drug use. Call the 24-hour BC Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service toll-free from anywhere in B.C. at 1-800-663-1441 or from the lower mainland at 1-604-660-9382. 

BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services: substance use and mental health services for children, adolescents and adults across the province.

Supervised Consumption and Overdose Prevention Services: places where people can use drugs under supervision from a trained healthcare professional to reduce the risk of an overdose. 

Support Groups and Social Support: find support in groups of others who have the same challenges, in groups led by professionals, and in your relationships with family and friends. Some options:

Here to Help: Information related to substance use and mental health, including personal stories, self-help resources and information about getting help now. 

Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre: A provincial resource centre that provides substance use and mental health information, resources, and peer support to children, youth and their families from across B.C.

Emergency 911

If you suspect an overdose, call 911 right away and follow SAVE ME protocol while waiting for first responders.

HealthLink BC 811

Call 811 from anywhere in British Columbia to speak with a nurse about non-emergency health matters any time of the day or night. More details are available at HealthLink BC.