Mayor Linda Hepner pictured with Dick Vollet, Dr. Evan Wood, John Volken, Shawna Volken, Dianne Watts and a JVA student (L-R) Marshall Smith, Senior Advisor for Recovery Initiatives, BCCSU; Mayor Linda Hepner; Dick Vollet, President & CEO St. Paul's Foundation; Dr. Evan Wood, Director of the BCCSU; John Volken; Chawna Volken; MP Dianne Watts; and Cameron, student at John Volken Academy.

John Volken Academy commits $1,000,000 to support British Columbia Centre on Substance Use

May 23rd, 2017

The John Volken Academy has committed $1,000,000 to support the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU), a world-class organization with a mandate to develop, help implement, and evaluate evidence-based approaches to substance use and addiction in B.C.

“We are committed to working with the BCCSU in supporting recovery based activities,” says John Volken, founder of the John Volken Academy. “Helping others has brought me tremendous joy and satisfaction. I believe that once we have provided for our families, we should then work for the good of all, especially the most vulnerable in our society.”

In 2016, the ongoing opioid crisis pushed the provincial death toll to an unprecedented peak of 914 overdose deaths, almost 80% higher than 2015. With studies showing that fewer than 1 in 10 patients struggling with substance use receive evidence-based treatment, the BCCSU aims to build upon the success of its partner organization, the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, and close the gap between research and practice to improve the health system for those struggling with problematic substance use.

“Thanks to the John Volken Academy’s gift, we’re able to support the important work of the BCCSU,” says Dick Vollet, President and CEO of St. Paul’s Foundation. “In the face of a public health emergency, continued collaboration and support is crucial as many people continue to face substantial barriers in their care.”

The gift from John Volken Academy will help promote a recovery-oriented system of care across the province. The partnership will help support the BCCSU’s engagement with those in recovery from substance use and helping those working to augment and support best practices for service provision in the area of addiction recovery.

In addition, Addiction Medicine Fellows – who are part of the largest interdisciplinary addiction medicine training program in North America hosted at BCCSU – will have the opportunity to train at the John Volken Academy as part of an orientation to therapeutic community models of care. This collaboration will further the BCCSU’s mission to train the next generation of leaders in addiction and recovery-oriented medicine.

“We know that addiction care must be a continuum from acute treatment through to after care models that include a range of services and supports including the recovery programs that can be an integral part of system for many,” says Dr. Evan Wood, Director of the BCCSU. “The support of the John Volken Academy will allow us to really engage with this sector and ultimately promote the best outcomes for persons who too frequently have nowhere to turn for help.”

Donations made by friends of St. Paul’s have helped to make the new BC Centre on Substance Use a reality, thus helping to create at St. Paul’s one of the most innovative substance use programs in the world. Please continue your support as these next critical steps are taken in substance use research and care.



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