A new substance abuse program in Surrey, B.C., is being billed as the first of its kind in the province with services designed for the South Asian community.
The Roshni Clinic offers culturally tailored services for alcohol and non-opioid drug addictions in the hopes of encouraging more people to seek help.
“We know that in the South Asian community, problematic substance use is a concern that is often highly stigmatized and people do not always know how to seek support for themselves or a loved one,” said Dr. Nitasha Puri, medical lead for the Roshni Clinic.
Puri explained the idea came about when doctors and health care providers noticed, anecdotally, that some patients were exhibiting advanced stages of withdrawal and worse symptoms or outcomes than other patients.
Most of those people had South Asian heritage, said Puri, which prompted Fraser Health to look at which culturally-specific services were needed.
“I think that a language connection can be really therapeutic for people … when you cannot express yourself in your mother tongue it sometimes is harder to reach that therapeutic place,” she told Rick Cluff, host of The Early Edition.
Services are offered in English, Hindi and Punjabi and are available to anyone who self-identifies as South Asian.
The centre will also aim to prioritize the role of family in the treatment process which Fraser Health calls a “holistic, patient-centred approach.”
Services include medical treatment of withdrawal, one-on-one counselling and education and support for families. The clinic also has a telehealth component so some patients can access care remotely.
The clinic is currently open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Puri said it is getting “busier every week.”
With files from CBC Radio One’s The Early Edition