Pubdate: Fri, 11 Jul 2008
Source: Richmond News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008, Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc.
Author: Tracy Sherlock
Bookmark: (Treatment)


Now that Turning Point has withdrawn their plans for a controversial 
32-bed recovery house, I suggest Richmond citizens get behind the 
society's plans to build a 10-bed home for women in recovery.

Although there is a 130-person wait list for addictions housing or 
recovery beds, and a 10- to 12-week wait list for Turning Point's 
men's facility, there is no facility with a wait list for women in 
our city. This is not because there are no women seeking treatment -- 
au contraire -- but because there are zero beds in Richmond for women 
in recovery.

"Women who require treatment who live in Richmond have few options. 
They either go to Vancouver or Abbotsford or out of province; because 
there are so few options, many women don't end up getting the 
treatment they need," Plant said. Their children are often left with 
family or relatives, or placed in foster care.

"The challenge of finding appropriate child care often precludes many 
women from getting the help they need," Plant said.

Although women report drug use less often than men, women have a 
greater vulnerability to the physical health impacts of substance 
abuse, which makes girls and women more vulnerable to addiction, 
according to a report, Girls, Women and Substance Use, prepared by 
the British Columbia Centre of Excellence for Women's Health.

Women's drug use tends to be related to mood, confidence, stress and 
weight control, and these emotional connections can keep women in a 
destructive cycle, the same report says. Further, it says that sexual 
abuse and physical abuse, which are experienced more often by girls 
than by boys, are strongly related to problems with substance abuse.

Turning Point might still proceed with plans to build a women's 
recovery centre at the Ash Street site, or elsewhere in the city.

"For families in Richmond recovering from an addiction, the options 
are severely limited. Unless there is a local solution, we as a 
community risk breaking up families, turning our backs on at-risk 
children and abandoning members of our community," Touchstone Family 
Association's executive director Michael McCoy wrote earlier this 
year in support of Turning Point's proposal.

If Turning Point does open a home for women, those who enter their 
program can expect a high chance of staying clean.

"Turning Point works. On average, approximately 75 per cent of our 
clients remain drug and alcohol free one year after completing our 
program," Plant said. "Turning Point intends to pursue our goal of 
meeting the need for affordable addictions housing within the 
community. We will work with B.C. Housing to find property that would 
be appropriate. Beyond that I cannot speculate at this time."

I, for one, hope that Turning Point strongly pursues their plans for 
a women's recovery centre.

A letter from one opponent who wrote the News last year said, "If you 
were in our shoes, moms of the young kids, would you allow them to 
walk on the streets and play at the playgrounds alone as they used to 
do near the proposed area? If this rezoning plan is a go, our 
innocent kids will be vulnerable to drug/alcohol temptation, exposed 
to unknown risks, and fall into "victims" by developing horror and 
even psychological illness."

What if the addicted person is a mom herself? That certainly should 
change the scary stereotype of a drug addict corrupting the 
neighbourhood. The addict could be the mom hosting the neighbourhood 
birthday party, or the mom in charge of driving your child on a field 
trip. Wouldn't you want them to have the support they need to recover?

And certainly, being raised by a mom in recovery, in a supportive 
housing environment, holds a heck of a lot more promise for a 
successful future than being placed in foster care while mom goes 
into recovery on the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.

Have a heart, Caring Citizens. Remember that women face addiction too.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom