September 22, 2019

By Kaitlyn Mullin, Spoke News

Renovations are underway for a men’s addiction treatment centre in Cambridge, Ont., in the hopes of combatting the current opioid crisis in the region. The House of Haven women’s shelter at 562 Concession Rd.,  is currently being restored to make way for House of Friendship’s $3-million project.

House of Friendship offers safe, confidential and free treatment for those who are suffering from addiction. The new Cambridge facility, when completed, will house a 15-bed men’s residential treatment program, as well as day treatment program and counselling for both men and women.

“The residential program is an abstinence-based, voluntary program. Men who enter the residential treatment program are at a place in their journey where they truly want freedom from their addictions,” said House of Friendship marketing and communications specialist Gail Martin.

The new location has raised concerns from many in the Cambridge community, as the new facility will be located in close proximity to five elementary schools as well as a daycare centre.

“You can’t trust a person on drugs; they are very unpredictable,” said Angie Bromley, a Cambridge resident whose three children attend Coronation Public School, located on the same street as the renovation project.

Bromley has already moved her children from several homes in the hope to escape the current drug issue around the region.

“I really don’t want that near my children,” Bromley said. “It compromises their safety.”

“Having it so close to the schools is absolutely concerning to me and I understand why so many people are up in arms about it,” said Michele Hamer, whose granddaughter attends an elementary school nearby. “I know there is a need for this type of facility, but the need should have been filled elsewhere.”

Jamie Taylor, a Cambridge father, pointed out that there is already a methadone clinic in the community near the schools. Lang’s, a community centre located on Concession Road, offers opioid addicts a medicine-based therapy.

“No one has said anything about the methadone clinic in Lang’s for years, and that’s in the middle of three [elementary schools],” Taylor said. “I think the new place has a bad rap because it’s a rehabilitation centre. They think it’s going to be one of those safe injection sites.”

Martin emphasized that House of Friendship has more than four decades of experience, which includes facilities in close proximity to schools.

“The current location of our men’s residential addiction program is across the street from an elementary school, and has been for decades, with no issues,” Martin said. “Given our more than four decades of experience operating residential addiction treatment programs, we do not anticipate any concerns with having this program in a residential setting.”

The centre is set to open in Cambridge by July 2019.

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