Thursday, May 29, 2008

Teen treatment centre gets green light

A proposed teen addiction treatment centre cleared a major hurdle yesterday on its way to securing provincial funding.

Champlain Local Health Integration Network board members unanimously approved the latest proposal, which calls for a 20-bed facility to be built in rural Ottawa.

The proposed site, at the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group-owned Meadow Creek farm in Kanata, will include a 15-bed facility for anglophone residents, and a separate five-bed facility for francophones.

Champlain LHIN CEO Dr. Robert Cushman said he is "very optimistic" the province will offer up the $5 million capital costs, as well as the $2.4 million annual operating budget.

"We've been in discussions with the ministry of health and long term care for many months," said Cushman. "It's not coming as a surprise. It's not coming out of nowhere."

The program will accept teens aged 13-17.

Cushman said the key part of the program is continuing care. Residents will be monitored for six months after discharge to prevent relapse.


"We want to have better results than the Hollywood-style treatment," said Glenn Barnes, chairman of the Champlain Addiction Co-ordinating Body and one of the architects of the program.

"One of the black clouds that follows residential treatment is the Britney Spears syndrome -- where these people go in for rehab, they're 30 days dry, but when they get out they're just as screwed up as before."

A comprehensive patient assessment will include a mental health evaluation, Cushman said.

"We know 80% of these addicted youths have mental health problems," he said.

"We're talking about a subset of youth that are our most vulnerable and have extreme needs."

While initial plans called for a 48-bed bilingual facility, Cushman said the cost savings in the current proposal would strengthen transitional housing, in-school prevention programs and youth outreach initiatives.

"We need to do this well before considering an expanded program," said Cushman. "We want to decrease the numbers coming into residential care through prevention programs, and also the numbers coming back in after relapse."
source: The Ottawa Sun