Barrie’s first women-only treatment centre for substance abuse to open next week

Love Barrie sign in downtown Barrie Ont., Aug. 14, 2022. Sawyer Bogdan / Global News

Women in the Barrie area who struggle with an alcohol or drug addiction will have more options for treatment with the opening of the region’s first women-only treatment centre.

Starting next week, Cornerstone to Recovery, a non-profit that helps people battling addiction, will be opening its first women-only treatment centre in the Barrie area.

Cornerstone’s director of women’s residential programs, Lori-Ann Seward, said when Barrie’s outgoing mayor, Jeff Lehman and Ward 6 Coun. Natalie Harris, first approached them to expand to the Barrie area, they saw it as an opportunity to open their first women’s facility.

“In Ontario, one-third of the residential treatment beds are reserved for women, so right off the bat, there’s less access to treatment,” Seward said.

“It’s no surprise Barrie is specifically renowned in Ontario for its problems with human trafficking in the sex trade, and women face different barriers than men do. So economically and financially, they face more challenges than men do, as well as there are issues of domestic abuse.”

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Cornerstone to Recovery treatment centre for women in Barrie. Via Cornerstone to Recovery Facebook

The new downtown facility has 10 beds for residents and three transition rooms with a kitchen and common room.

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The facility will give clients staying there access to a 90-day residential treatment program.

“The opioid crisis that we talk about didn’t surface yesterday. It’s definitely become more than a crisis, and so the need to start saving lives is in more dire need than ever before,” Seward said.

According to data from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, opioid-related deaths have risen more than 75 per cent over a 25-month period.

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The health unit reports that amid the pandemic, from March 2020 to March 2022 there were 323 opioid-related deaths in Simcoe Muskoka, compared with 182 opioid-related deaths in the 25 months before the start of the pandemic from February 2018 to February 2020.

“While the impact of the opioid crisis is across the board, it doesn’t care about who it picks on — age, gender, culture or religion doesn’t matter,” said Peter Brewitt, director of counselling programs and development.

“But in the treatment world, there are more beds available for men than there are for women, and with the opioid crisis being the way it is today in terms of how much it’s escalated, there’s an even bigger need for resources for women.”

More details on how to sign up for the program can be found on Cornerstone’s website.

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