Addiction treatment facilities taking no new residents amid COVID-19 crisis
Published Thursday, April 2, 2020 9:30PM EDT
MONTREAL -- Quebec's addiction treatment facilities are not accepting any new patients because of the COVID-19 crisis, raising fears that people who need help won't have access to it.
Mike Weston, director of treatment centre Andy's House, said no new residents were being admitted as of March 18.
“We have compromised immune systems, elderly people, people with liver damage so we can't take any risk in having that infection come through the house,” he said.
Eight residents are currently receiving treatment at Andy's House, with the last of them scheduled to leave in mid-June.
Weston said Andy's House has already had to turn away two people who were ready to check in.
“The problem with that is the window of opportunity for somebody who wants to get help is very slim,” he said.
One of Andy's House's alum said waiting can be a major setback for someone reaching out for help with addiction. Radio host Lee Haberkorn checked into Andy's House 11 years ago during a battle that left him suicidal.
“Sometimes, taking that first step is just so hard to be able to ask for help,” he said. “Then, being told 'Maybe, yeah, you can come in a few weeks or a few months, we'll have to wait and see.' That opportunity might not still be there in a few months, let alone a day.”
Montreal public health officials said they're taking steps to protect people battling addiction but director Mylene Drouin said on Thursday she was unaware of a plan to offer treatment to those seeking it.
“We want to work with the government to find a solution,” she said.