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The Urgency to Revitalize the System

June 2009 – Editorial, by Bruno Ferrari, Director General

I recently intended to pay a visit to a new reintegration center located near our own treatment center. However, by the time that the day of the appointment had arrived, the center had already closed its doors for good. Many substance users start to feel a sense of weariness, for there is no guarantee that they can receive respectable and reliable care and support.

Within a two-month period I have become aware of the opening of one detox facility, two treatment centers and one reintegration center in the Montreal area. I work in this field, and I know. However, I'm not chasing this type of information; it just comes to me through various means. Several front-line counselors and street workers have explained to me how the centers' anarchic management styles could only lead to the confusion of potential beneficiaries, and, accordingly, to a noticeable decrease in treatment requests despite the increase in the counselors’ own intervention efforts. Many substance users start to feel a sense of weariness, for there is no guarantee that they can receive respectable and reliable care and support.

When I learned that a reintegration center had just opened its doors nearby our own center in the Laurentian Gateway, I immediately asked for an appointment in order to ascertain whether or not the center could meet the minimum requirements as far as qualifications and facilities are concerned. In addition, I felt that the resource could potentially offer an interesting service to our own beneficiaries. However, by the time that the day of my appointment had arrived, the center had already closed its doors for good.

A recent edition of the "Journal de Montreal", reported on the opening of a center based on the approach of the Italian center, "San Patrignano". The article dealt with the motivation of the managers and insisted on the importance of having such a resource in Quebec. The article also explained how much time it takes to get one's life back on track and commented that the center's treatment program could last up to three years. I have no intention of turning down or criticizing any additional resources that can be made available to those suffering from addiction; nevertheless, I do criticize the lack of standards linked to any convincing evidence that would provide appropriate guidance to all those who endeavor to implement a consistent, broad and efficient service network! 

In 2008 the addiction treatment centers that had received certification by the Ministry of Health and Social Services (Quebec) formed a professional association. Their objective was, and still is, to emphasize the dramatic discrepancies between the number of service providers and their capacity to improve people's lives, resulting in a waste of time and skills. It was urgent that a legal entity capable of establishing standards and representing a nationwide network of quality partners be created if we were to make some progress in this area.

We truly hope that the Ministry can understand the importance of the good will and intentions of the association of certified centers in dedicating their time and efforts to providing quality services instead of struggling for their own survival.

I am available to participate in any discussions of these matters. I hope to see you soon at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Bruno Ferrari
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