Pubdate: Fri, 10 Aug 2001
Source: Hamilton Spectator (CN ON)
Copyright: The Hamilton Spectator 2001
Author: G. E. Jollymore


RE: 'Detox shutdown a surprise' (July 7). As a physician who works with 
major industry in Hamilton, and independently with the substance-abuse 
population within a methodone clinic, I was dismayed by the closure of the 
Men's Detoxification Centre.

I find it extremely unsatisfactory that the action was taken without any 
warning to even those of us who rely daily on the service. It caused me 
exceptional problems on the day of the closure when I was faced with the 
unavailability of treatment for a worker whom I had just spent several 
hours convincing to seek help. As a result, he had to be first rerouted to 
a St. Catharines centre, which was full, and then to Brampton, where he had 
to spend eight hours in emergency before being cleared to enter treatment.

On the other side of this issue, when I am dealing with street drug 
addicts, it is life saving to have a facility immediately available where 
they can be sent. A delay in treatment at this point often results in the 
individual returning to the streets where he/she faces an even greater risk 
of overdosing or becoming involved with crime to support his/her habit.

All facets of our society operate on the basis of having the correct piece 
of paper to say that one is qualified to do a particular job. But this is 
rarely a guarantee that the job will be done any better or even as well. 
Experience, accumulated knowledge, and dedication are probably more 
important in meeting this goal. No amount of classroom work prepares one to 
deal effectively with the addicted population.

This feet-first approach in closing a facility which is essential to 
frontline workers dealing with the addicted population is very foolhardy. 
Beyond the lack of consultation or warning, or the pre-arranged provision 
of alternative facilities, this action has denied essential treatment 
sources to those who require them -- the addict.

I hope the new centre is prepared to deal with this population with the 
professional approach of the one that has been displaced. But I will be 
extremely surprised if the facility, when it is re-opened, can provide an 
equivalent, little less superior, service to that which has been closed. To 
discount the dedication and professionalism of these individuals is very 

- -- G. E. Jollymore, MD, Hamilton.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens