Keeping Cambridge Healthy: Bringing the Men's Addiction Center

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As we all are aware we have a opioid crisis directly affecting our community and our country. I truly believe that by bringing forth programs to help solve this epidemic is the only way, we as a community, will be able to restore the place we love and call home. 

One of the programs the region of Waterloo and the House of Friendship want to implement is a men's addiction treatment center for people suffering from addiction and mental health services. This will not be a place for addicts who are currently using to come and receive clean needles or short term help. This program is a long term program that requires patients to be in a certain  level of sobriety before entering. There are rules and regulations that will follow residency here. This is a much needed program in the region and many believe this to be another "Bridges" situation. This however is not the case. 

This is a direct insert from an article published in the CambridgeTimes on July 17 2017 written by Lisa Rutledge:

"The new Cambridge addictions program will mirror the House of Friendship’s current Waterloo-based model, offering four-to-six months of free treatment to men aged 21-plus, giving priority to men whose lives have been severely damaged by addiction.

While the 15-bed program will provide the same supportive, substance-free environment — governed by a policy of absolute abstinence — the Cambridge location will offer 10 times more space, as well as a much desired community feel.

The property will offer semi-private rooms, a large community kitchen where residents can cook and eat meals together, common areas for group counselling, as well as peaceful outdoor spaces to reconnect with family, garden or just reflect during the often painful physical and emotional times in recovery.

“Just moving to this location will dramatically enhance the dignity, the family component, accessibility and the recreational component,” maintains Neufeld, emphasizing dignity is a key value in the organization.

The current landlocked Waterloo men’s residential treatment centre is no longer sustainable, and offers little privacy and dignity."

you can find the full article here:

 The House of Friendship's program for Mens Addiction is currently being run in Waterloo, the program will hopefully be moved to Cambridge to help more people with addiction. The House of Friendship is asking the community to focus on these 3 points. 

1. This is a Health Care Facility, which treats addiction and mental health. The program is long term and residents must reside within in the building and follow the program rules. 

2. Individuals seeking treatment must be there on a voluntary basis. Forcing someone to attend a program against their will, does not prove effective. 

3. THe program was started more than 40 years ago and has continued to thrive in the community, located across the street from a public school. The area includes The Wilfred University and McGregor Public. 

With the program already successfully being run in a very high traffic area, surrounded by residential house schools and many many more community programs. I don't believe that the location on Concession Road is an inaccurate placement. A large part of recovery is being integrated back into society without fear of judgment and persecution.  

 This program  does not offer treatment to people being released from prisons, or on a probation/parole term. People will not be ordered by the courts to attend the program as a option for court appointed treatment. 

The use of drugs is strictly prohibited, If a resident is caught with drugs or drug paraphernalia they are no longer eligible for the program. 

I would also like to take a moment to give the people reading this petition a little bit of background on me. I am not unaffected by this crisis and sadly I have been surround by addiction my entire life. Both of my parents were addicts my whole life, ranging from Alcohol to Heroin and Fentanyl. I spent my childhood in and out of foster homes and group homes. I grew up angry and confused, I lashed out and as a teeneager myself became heavily involved with alcohol. I made bad choices and lacked the proper guidance to make better ones. I was lucky and found my way out of what could have been a very long and terrifying road. Unfortunately on February 13 2017 my father was found deceased in a Scarborough neighbourhood, months later our fears were confirmed. My father had taken a lethal dose of Fentanyl, the corner believes my father thought he had purchased heroin and instead was given Fentanyl. His tox report showed a prior use of heroin but this was the first sign of fentanyl  I know that many of  you will think well buyer beware or if people really wanted help they would get it etc. I do not believe that to be the case,or at least not all the time.I believe that we lack the resources and proper programs to treat the underlying issues a large percentage of addicts suffer from, not to mention the terrifying thought of detox. My father used for more than 30 years, at this point he may not have been able to become clean but  if my father had been treated for the depression and mental illness, I know he suffered from, at an earlier stage in life I truly believe he could have overcome his addiction. 

Here in lies the issue. Our jail and judicial systems are overcrowded and underfunded.  The correctional officers are overworked and made to deal with situations they were not meant to. We know longer offer proper  mental health services in this province, when we lost funding for these programs we pushed people to the streets where many of the times they were put in jail. Starting a vicious cycle.  Pharmaceutical companies are pushing Doctors to prescribe opioids for everything under the sun and then denying their part in our epidemic. Our city officials, workers and first responders are also overworked and exasperated. Our community is scared, tired and a little misinformed. Please take the time to fully understand what the program is offering before signing any petition for or against this facility. These are still people who need help, they feel lost, scared and ashamed. They carry guilt and fear of rejection as they have been outcasts of the community. "True healing begins when an addict feels accepted again from the community". A comment that is heard from many professionals counseling addiction. 

Please take the time to understand the epidemic we face and how as a community we can fix it, Thank you


“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

― Mahatma Gandhi